The Pentagon confirmed a second transgender recruit has enlisted in the armed forces, even as Trump weighs whether to continue pursuing his failed ban on trans military service.
The unnamed soldier signed a contract with the U.S. Navy on March 1, just days after the first recruit shattered the glass ceiling for transgender troops. The Department of Defense previously confirmed that an individualwhose name was not released to members of the mediahad completed their paperwork on Feb. 23.
As the Department of Defense told INTO in a January phone interview, it takes recruits between 30 and 90 days to finalize the process of joining the military.
Friday’s news, which was first reported by ABC News, arrives just over two months after a series of federal court rulings lifted a policy by President Donald Trump blocking trans enlistment. In a July 2017 tweetstorm, the POTUS claimed transgender people would not be allowed to serve “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”
Judges have not found the president’s argumentsto be persuasive.
In a November ruling against the ban, Judge Marvin Garbis of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland claimed that preventing trans people from joining the armed forces “cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest.” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said “there’s absolutely no support” for the claim trans enlistment “would have any negative effects on the military at all.”
After the White House announced it would stop defending the ban, Gen. James Mattis delivered recommendations to Trump last month on the future of transgender people in the military. Officials say he advised the president to allow trans troops to serve openly.
The president’s decision will be made public later this month, but he is often known to disregard the counsel of advisors when making key policy decisions. In Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, the author claims Trump tweeted the ban after a military briefing, in which the proposal barring trans enlistment was presented as one of four options.
Wolff alleges the president thought about the ban for 10 minutes before making it public.
The recruits will have to undergo basic training before they are able to begin their service, as the Department of Defense claims. Earlier reports suggest that “dozens” of troops have begun the enlistment process since the president’s ban was reversed on Jan. 1.