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Military's Transgender Ban In Place For Incoming Class Of AFA Cadets

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - Recently cleared by court action, the Pentagon's order banning transgender applicants among new recruits is in effect, and was implemented by the Air Force Academy on April 12.

The academy's next class of cadets is scheduled to arrive in late June.

U.S. Air Force Academy sign generic
(credit: CBS)

According to a story from the Colorado Springs Gazette, the policy was first announced two years ago in a series of tweets by President Donald Trump.

"Incoming cadets selected for entrance into the U.S. Air Force Academy before April 12, 2019, will be responsible for meeting all accession and retention standards and requirements under the 2016 policy," the academy said in an email to the Gazette. "After April 12, 2019, cadets are admitted under the new DoD policy rules."

The academy has been open to transgender cadets since 2016.

"Transgender people may serve in their biological sex, as long as they are meeting all standards associated with their biological sex," the academy said.

AFA chapel (Air Force Academy)
(credit: Air Force Academy)

The new policy prevents anyone who has sought gender reassignment or undergone transition therapy from serving in the military. Additional proof of "stability," which the Pentagon defines as the absence of gender dysphoria, must be proven by incoming troops or cadets.

2018 Air Force Academy Graduation
Air Force Thunderbirds flying team preform for the graduation ceremony, at the Air Force Academy, on May 23, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team passes near Pikes Peak during the performance. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


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A spokesperson from the American Military Partner Association, which advocates for gay, lesbian and transgender troops, called the ban "unconscionable."

"Our nation is once again shamefully forcing brave American heroes to hide who they are in order to serve," association president Ashley Broadway-Mack said in an email to the Gazette.

2018 Air Force Academy Graduation
(credit: Air Force Academy)

Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican congressman from El Paso County, which houses the majority of the state's military bases - including the Air Force Academy, Ft Carson Army Base, Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Schriever Air Force Base - told the Denver Post at the time of President Trump's 2017 announcement on Twitter that he supported the decision.

"While I appreciate and respect the willingness of anyone to step forward and serve in uniform, I agree with the president's decision," Lamborn said in a statement. "There are too many unanswered medical, housing, readiness and deployment questions to allow the previous policies of the Obama administration to continue. Our military must remain focused on fighting and winning conflicts and wars; any other considerations must remain secondary."

The ban still faces legal battles. Several civil rights-based lawsuits are unresolved.

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