According to Pentagon spokesperson Major David Eastburn, Mattis delivered his recommendations on Friday morning, however any policy decisions would ultimately be decided upon by President Trump and the White House. White House officials are saying an announcement regarding the administration’s new policy on transgender troops will be made no later than March 23rd.
According to a report by Fox News, a senior U.S. official has confirmed that Mattis has formally recommended that transgender troops should be allowed to serve as long as they are able to deploy overseas. The Pentagon recently issued guidance that stated service members (excluding those who were wounded in combat and women who are pregnant and recently had a child) who are not considered able to deploy for a period of 12 months will be processed for “administrative separation.” Officials have said that the new guidance on deployment and recent court orders have helped to shape Mattis’ recommendations.
What has not yet been made clear is whether the military would continue to pay for gender affirmation surgeries. Many are also worried that the new policy regarding the ability to deploy may be a veiled attempt at blocking transgender people from serving. The policy stands a chance to hold up in court because it applies to all troops who are serving.