WASHINGTON DC — A change to a Pentagon personnel policy three months ago loosens the rules barring transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military, giving the individual services leeway to retain these personnel.
Legal and military experts with the Palm Center, a San Francisco-based think tank focused on LGBT military service, made that startling charge in a new report.
The update — to Defense Department Instruction 1332.18, Disability Evaluation System — provides a loophole for the services to let transgender troops serve instead of requiring administrative separation, the Palm Center says.
The old policy listed transgender identity as a "congenital or developmental defect" that mandated administrative separation.
The instruction issued Aug. 5 drops that provision, which the activists, including three retired flag or general officers, representatives from the ACLU, the Transgender American Veterans Association and others, say means the services now can discharge individuals with perceived defects only if those defects interfere with their performance or duty assignment.
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