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Transgender troops can re-enlist in military

Transgender troops can re-enlist in military

And last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he would conduct a six-month review of transgender troops before implementing that order.

A bipartisan group of USA senators on Friday introduced legislation to protect transgender troops from being kicked out of the military.

Separately, four U.S. senators - including John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee - introduced legislation that would not allow the Pentagon to remove present service members based on their gender identity.

Faced with President Trump's task of implementing a ban on their service, Defense Secretary James Mattis has issued a memo allowing transgender troops now in the military to re-enlist - at least during the six-month period when Pentagon studies the issue.

"Transgender service members whose term expires while the (current) guidance is in effect may re-enlist under existing procedures", Manning said.Trump's transgender ban has already sparked several legal challenges.

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"It is clear that there is broad opposition within Congress and military leadership to Donald Trump and Mike Pence's discriminatory attacks on transgender troops", McBride said. "Congress needs to act on a bipartisan basis to do what is best for our country and national security, and that includes overturning President Trump's poorly conceived transgender ban".

Trump's August 25 directive ordered the military to immediately stop paying for transition-related medical expenses, unless a service member's health was in jeopardy.

Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the memo and new legislation demonstrate the Pentagon and lawmakers, unlike Trump, are willing to support transgender troops.

As Vox's Alex Ward reported, Trump's memo also ordered the Pentagon to stop paying for any transgender-related medical treatments, including gender-affirming surgeries, even for those now serving, "except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex". Transgender troops have been openly serving in the military since June 2016. "There is no medical or psychiatric justification for the categorical exclusion of transgender individuals from the Armed Forces". Many of them have been deployed to warzones multiple times. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, put his weight behind the bill as stand-alone legislation after it was first introduced as an amendment by Sens. Its passage would affirm the notion that all Americans who are willing and able to serve should be eligible.