President Donald Trump walked back the Obama-era policy on Wednesday that permitted transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military, dropping the number of countries allowing trans soldiers to 18 worldwide.
Trump cited medical costs as one of the reasons why he has decided not to allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military "in any capacity," according to a series of Twitter messages posted Wednesday morning.
Previously, former defense secretary Ash Carter announced last June that the U.S. would begin allowing trans troops. According to Politico, James Mattis, current defense secretary, then announced a six-month delay on the order last month. And now Trump has ruled it out.
Elsewhere in the world, though, trans troops have become the norm.
In April, the Israel Defense Force accepted its first transgender soldier, Shachar Erez, according to the media outlet Forward.
Erez originally enlisted in the IDF as a female, but the Israeli military's health insurance covered the cost of his transition, paying for testosterone injections and for top surgery, including a double mastectomy and chest reconstruction, Forward reported.
Erez, 23, visited the United States this past spring with his personal story to encourage acceptance in a tour sponsored by the IDF and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“I hope to give them the feeling that I got from the IDF, the fact that I am equal,” he said.
According to a RAND Corporation study reported by The New York Times, an estimated 2,450 out of 1.3 million active-duty members of the U.S. military are transgender.
Here are the remaining 18 countries that currently permit trans troops:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
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