The Pentagon's new policy that places limits on the military service of transgender individuals goes into effect on Friday, almost two years after President Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted to ban transgender individuals from serving in the US military.
"This is a dark day for our nation's military and the more than 13,000 fearless transgender service members who are putting their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we hold so dear".
The Defense Department said its use of the words "deficiencies" is military lingo for when an individual fails to meet standards to maintain a lethal force.
"The [Department of Defense] regulation also instructs service secretaries to add gender dysphoria to service-specific lists of 'administratively disqualifying conditions" that DOD regulations label 'congenital or developmental defects", AMA President Barbara McAneny said in a statement. It is not a reference to gender dysphoria, a condition of extreme distress from not identifying with one's biological gender, Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said.
The department says transgender people can serve if they remain in their biological sex. "The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision".
Decorated Army helicopter pilot Lindsey Muller was a plaintiff in one of four lawsuits that tried to block the policy from taking effect.
Muller said she and other transgender troops feel demoralized. But the final legal injunction was lifted in March, though new legal challenges are expected.
"Under our ethical standards, we can't say anything derogatory against the administration, while we are being presented in a disparaging and derogatory light", said Muller, 37, who is based in Fort Carson, Colorado. The administration says it will not boot current service members who transitioned before the Pentagon issued its directive, though the government has also said it retains the right to eliminate that protection.
The Associated Press (AP) wrote in an article last month, under the new rules, now serving transgender troops and anyone who has signed an enlistment contract by April 12 may continue with plans for hormone treatments and gender transition if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
The policy calls for troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria to be medically evaluated before discharging them to see if they qualify as having a disability.
Under the new policy, any person who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and has received medical treatment - either hormones or surgery - will not be allowed to join the military. Transgender service members should, as is the case with all personnel, receive the medical care they need.
Defense officials were asked by reporters last month for the data that shows transgender individuals have a negative effect on military readiness and unit cohesion, but officials conceded that it doesn't exist because the Pentagon doesn't track transgender service members.
Meanwhile, Ashley Broadway-Mack, President of AMPA, the nation's largest organization of LGBTQ military families, said in a statement to CBS News, "With the implementation of this transgender military ban, our nation is once again shamefully forcing courageous American heroes to hide who they are in order to serve".