No change in transgender policy - Pentagon

  • 28/07/2017
Donald Trump addresses US soldiers
Donald Trump addresses US soldiers. Photo credit: Getty

US President Donald Trump's controversial call to ban transgender people from serving in the military has been politely rebuffed by one of his top generals.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told military leaders there has been no change yet to the military's policy on transgender personnel, despite plans for a ban announced by President Donald Trump.

"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance," Gen Dunford said in a written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders.

"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."

Mr Trump said the ban was avoid having the military "burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption". He said the decision was made after consultation with "my generals and military experts".

It was quickly revealed the US military only spends 0.13 percent of its annual health budget - US$8.4 million - on gender transition-related treatment costs. Ten times more is spent on erectile dysfunction medication.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump promised to fight for LGBT rights.