The Air Force Academy will implement the Pentagon’s ban on transgender troops starting with the new crop of cadets coming to the school June 27.
The move comes nearly two years after President Donald Trump ordered the ban with an early morning Twitter post that shocked the military’s top brass.
The ban has been delayed by a series of lawsuits and what some called Pentagon foot-dragging. But courts cleared the Pentagon to begin the ban this month. And the Air Force Academy said in an email that it will implement the new Pentagon policy.
“Incoming cadets selected for entrance into the U.S. Air Force Academy before April 12, 2019, will be responsible for meeting all accession and retention standards and requirements under the 2016 policy,” the academy said in an email. “After April 12, 2019, cadets are admitted under the new DoD policy rules.”
The new Pentagon policy resembles the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rules that were embraced by the Clinton administration.
“Transgender people may serve in their biological sex, as long as they are meeting all standards associated with their biological sex,” the academy said.
The policy has been bashed by groups including the American Military Partner Association, which advocates for gay, lesbian and transgender troops.
“With the implementation of this transgender military ban, our nation is once again shamefully forcing brave American heroes to hide who they are in order to serve,” association president Ashley Broadway-Mack said in an email.
The new policy does more than keep transgender troops in the closet. It also forbids their pursuit of transgender therapies.
Troops and cadets are banned from service if they have undergone transition therapy or are seeking gender reassignment.
They also are required to prove they have had three years of “stability,” which the Pentagon defines as the absence of gender dysphoria. That means those who think their body doesn’t represent their gender are banned.
Even those who meet the stability requirement could still be barred from service. The Pentagon policy prohibits those who have had hormone or gender reassignment treatments to serve in the military.
The academy has been open to transgender cadets since 2016. But the Trump administration’s moves to ban transgender troops have had an impact.
A transgender Air Force cadet who graduated in 2017 was denied a commission. And groups say transgender people have shied from military service because of the policy fight.
The Trump policy, however, still faces legal fights. Although a retraining order that halted the ban was lifted, several lawsuits are seeking to overturn the ban on civil rights grounds.
“Thousands of transgender service members and qualified recruits are willing to risk their very lives for our nation, and we will not stop fighting to reverse this unconscionable ban until they are once again able to serve openly and authentically as they deserve,” Broadway-Mack said.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx