LGBT groups dismayed as Pentagon delays transgender troop enlistment

| Updated: Jul 02, 2017 04:48 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], July 1(ANI): LGBT advocacy groups are expressing their dismay over Pentagon's decision to delay a plan to allow transgender people to enlist in the military. According to a report by the Hill, the decision, reportedly announced in a memo from Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday, gives military branches six months to prepare for the enlistment of transgender soldiers. This comes as service chiefs last week recommended Mattis to delay the policy. The Army and the Air Force had previously asked for a two-year delay to the policy. After news of the delay broke, the Palm Center, an LGBT think tank, slamming the decision, said, "Members of Congress are denigrating the value of military service by transgender troops, and Service Chiefs are pressuring Secretary Mattis to continue the transgender enlistment ban despite having no new arguments or data to back up their long-discredited assertions." The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) also said it was "disappointed" with the decision. Former defense secretary Ash Carter lifted the ban barring transgender people from serving in the military last year and set a July 1, 2017 deadline at the time for the military to allow transgender individuals to begin enlisting. Transgender people already serving in the military are currently allowed to do so openly, but no new recruits have been allowed to enlist. Meanwhile, contrary to his predecessor, President Donald Trump has done away with recent precedent by not recognising June as LGBT Pride Month. On the campaign trail, he had declared he would be a better ally of the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton. (ANI)