New guidance released by the Pentagon says transgender troops now in the military can re-enlist in the next several months. It appears to contradict the ban on their service ordered by President Donald Trump.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote in a memo released on Friday that a high-level panel will determine how to implement Trump's ban on transgender individuals in the military.
In August, Trump asked the military to indefinitely extend the ban on transgender people enlisting in the military, but left it up to Mattis to decide if those currently serving should be allowed to stay.
'We should welcome all those willing and able'
A bipartisan group of US senators on Friday introduced legislation to protect transgender troops from being kicked out of the military. Republican Senator John McCain said this week he was backing the bill.
"When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country," McCain said.
He added that the Obama-era policy allowing transgender personnel to serve and receive medical treatment will remain in place for now.
"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 also led to several legal challenges.
jbh/cmk (AP, AFP)