President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to announce a U.S. military ban on all transgender individuals, prohibiting them from serving “in any capacity” for fear their enlistment would cause "tremendous medical costs and disruption" to the government.
Transgender people have been able to serve openly in the military for more than a year. Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the military's ban on transgender people in June 2016, but Trump’s tweets announced plans to reinstate that ban. It remains to be seen what would happen to transgender service members who are currently enlisted in the military.
Trump’s announcement comes as new medical guidelines are expected to be released that could change the course of treatment for transgender adults and children around the world.
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit was the first to report on the new guidelines, which would likely clear a path for transgender children to begin transitioning at a younger age. The current guidelines, which have not been updated in nearly a decade, only recommend hormone therapy for transgender teenagers 16 and older. That restriction could soon be removed so children may begin changing their bodies even earlier.
The guidelines are also expected to acknowledge potential benefits in allowing children to transition socially, which can mean changing their names and wardrobes to feel more comfortable with their own gender identity.
Top experts within the medical community remain at odds over the upcoming shift in medical guidelines.
Supporters believe offering medical intervention at younger ages will allow transgender children to physically transform more seamlessly and limit the number of costly and complicated surgeries later in life. Opponents, however, believe early social transitions unfairly push children into thinking they should identify as the opposite sex.
The Endocrine Society plans to release the new guidelines by the end of the year.