The White House has announced a new policy preventing most transgender people from serving in the military.
The US president angered activists and the LGBT community after announcing the new ban in a memo released last night (March 23), CNN reports.
In the memo, the White House states that transgender individuals are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances".
It reads: "Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria - individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery - are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."
According to the memo, exceptions to the ban include people who have been "stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to conversion," servicemembers who "do not require a change of gender" as well as troops who started serving under the Obama administration's policy.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the policy was "developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans."
"This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards—including those regarding the use of medical drugs—equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen.”
LGBT activists and charities have since condemned the ban, which has faced opposition ever since the US president announced it on Twitter in July last year, reversing President Barack Obama's policy of accepting them.
However, trans people were finally permitted to enlist in the military from January after Donald Trump's administration decided not to appeal against a block on the ban.