President Trump: US to bar transgender persons from 'any capacity' of military service

WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," the Republican president wrote.

Click through to see social media reactions to Trump's controversial announcement:

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Social media reacts to Trump's announcement on transgender persons barred from military
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Social media reacts to Trump's announcement on transgender persons barred from military
The @ACLU calls Pres Trump's transgender policy statement "an outrageous and desperate action."
Trump's ban on Transgender Americans serving in the U.S. Military is an assault on the LGBT+ community and should not be taken lightly.
Donald Trump said transgender people can no longer serve in "any capacity" in the military What about the thousands already serving?
Thousands of brave transgender Americans serving our nation right now proudly prove you wrong, President Trump. https://t.co/OVyYKzjSQG
It's official: the only people Donald Trump has ever paid back are Russia and the religious right. https://t.co/7I8hUnEADw
Trump announced transgender ban while his Defense Secretary was ON VACATION. Essentially confirms a political decision from WH, not DOD led
Trump, in 2016: "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you." Trump, now: US will not allow transgender ppl to serve in military.
Trump added $15 billion to military funding but can’t swing the “medical costs” of transgender soldiers.
Of course Trump goes after the transgender. That is what weak bullies do when their egos are threatened--attack the vulnerable.
This morning, President Trump conducted his latest policy roll out via Twitter this time assaulting our brave transgender service members.
Combat vet @SenDuckworth calls new WH transgender military policy "discriminatory and counterproductive to our nati… https://t.co/b6WqqTaH8g
I grew up in a military w/ LGBT people serving in the shadows. We can't let DT turn back the clock on our brave, trans soldiers. #RISEUP
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The Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military last year under Democratic President Barack Obama's administration. It was expected to start allowing transgender people to begin enlisting this year, provided they had been "stable" in their preferred gender for 18 months.

Last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a six-month delay in allowing transgender recruits to join the U.S. armed forces.

The delay alarmed transgender advocates.

As soon as Trump made his announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union called for transgender service members to contact its lawyers for help.

"Thousands of trans service-members on the front lines deserve better from their commander in chief, @realDonaldTrump. Contact the ACLU," the group said on Twitter.

Another pro-LGBT rights group, Lambda Legal, made a similar appeal. "Contact us @LambdaLegal if you are affected by this outrageous reversal. We are here for you," the organization tweeted.

The Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment and elaboration on Trump's tweets.

Last year, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited a study by the RAND Corporation think tank saying there were about 2,500 transgender active-duty service members and 1,500 reserve transgender service members.

The military published a study earlier this year in Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine showing that most of its family physicians reported in 2016 that they had not been formally trained to care for transgender individuals. At least one military medical center had implemented training for its doctors, however. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Andrew Seaman in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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