Despite President Trump's opposition, the Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1.
The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban.
Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Defense Department is also studying the issue.
Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services.Eastburn said on Monday that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who have undergone reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they've been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.