Trump signs memo that bans transgender recruits

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a memo that effectively bans transgender individuals from joining armed forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L), First Lady Melania Trump (1st L), their son Barron (1st R) and Trump's grandchildren Joseph (2nd R) and Arabella walk to board the Marine One en route to Camp David for the weekend, at the south lawn of the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Aug. 25, 2017. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a briefing Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump, who left for David Camp, plans to visit U.S. state of Texas sometime early next week as Hurricane Harvey nears southern coastal states. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

The memo requires Secretary of Defense James Mattis to determine in the coming months how to handle those already enlisted, based on criteria, including military effectiveness, budgetary concerns, and law.

Trump's directive gives the Department of Defense six months to formulate an implementation plan set to go into effect on March 23, 2018. The policy also applies to the Department of Homeland Security that houses the Coast Guard.

It also orders a stop of government funding for sex-reassignment surgeries for active personnel unless the process is already underway.

The move, which came a month after Trump tweeted that he would not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity, reversed a policy started under his predecessor Barack Obama.

The previous administration had failed to identify a sufficient basis to terminate what was then a long-standing policy on transgender troops, according to the memo.

The Trump order was praised by social conservatives, while it drew criticism from civil rights groups.

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