Pentagon Ready to Recruit Transgenders in the New Year


Barring a last-minute court intervention, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that the military was ready to begin processing transgender recruits on Jan. 1 but withheld comment on whether he backed the move.

“We’ll obey whatever the law says,” Mattis told Pentagon reporters. “It’s a court case right now,” Mattis said of several federal court rulings that President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was unconstitutional.

“The Department of Justice is handling it,” Mattis said. “If they’re not appealing it, we’ll be notified of that” and be prepared to take in transgender recruits as ordered starting Jan. 1.

Mattis declined to say whether he welcomed the lower court rulings and the acceptance of transgender individuals into the military.

“I’m not going to get into this right now,” he said. “I don’t get into singling out and welcoming this group or that group, or that gender or anything else. That’s not my role.”