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Trump administration issues guidance on new transgender military policy

(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)A rainbow flag flies as people protest President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York City, New York.

The White House has reportedly issued a guidance for the implementation of the policy that bans transgender individuals from serving in the military.

According to Washington Blade, the guidance was approved by the White House Counsel's office on Friday night, and it is expected to be delivered to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis soon.

Sources familiar with the policy, titled "A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out," have said that it would encourage early retirement, usher out any enlisted personnel after their contract is up and fire any transgender officers up for promotion. A source contended that the administration basically "wants to get rid of transgender service members as fast as they can."

The new policy, which has not yet been made public, will allow transgender service members to continue serving, but it reportedly does not provide protection from harassment or other efforts to get them to quit. It is unclear what will happen to service members currently fighting in combat.

President Donald Trump stated in his tweets that he made the decision to ban transgenders from serving in the military after he consulted with his generals.

As many as 56 retired generals and admirals came out against the proposed, ban arguing that it would "cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie."

Last week, the commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, vowed to continue supporting the 13 transgender service members under his command despite Trump's tweets. The admiral has not openly defied the Commander-in-Chief, as Trump's tweets were not technically policy at that time. But some speculate that he would likely be encouraged to resign now that the policy is moving forward.

On Friday, more than 50 House Democrats sent a letter to Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, asking them not to comply with the ban on transgender service members.

"As members of Congress with an abiding interest in our nation's military and its policies towards the LGBTQ community, we write to not only express our strong opposition to President Trump's recent tweets seeking to ban transgender individuals from the military, but to remind you not to comply with any unconstitutional directive which may ultimately be issued," the letter reads, according to Washington Free Beacon.

The ban on transgender service members was lifted in 2015 under former President Barack Obama. A study conducted by Rand Corp. has estimated that around 2,500 transgender personnel may be serving in the active duty military, and 1,500 in the reserves.

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