Transgender service members can stay in the military – for now

The Pentagon is going to study how best to implement Trump's transgender ban.

Current service members who are transgender will still get to serve in the military – at least for now. 

That's according to a statement Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued Tuesday evening, which says people who are transgender in the U.S. military can continue to serve while the Pentagon studies President Donald Trump's transgender ban

In his statement, Mattis said the U.S. Department of Defense "will carry out the president's policy direction," but first a panel of experts will study how best to implement the president's plan in regards to transgender people who are currently enlisted. 

Once that happens, Mattis says he'll "provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction." 

In the meantime, current policy "will remain in place," Mattis said, meaning people who are transgender and are already enlisted can continue to serve.

In his statement, Mattis stressed that the agency's focus "must always be on what is best for the military's combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield."

More on Trump's transgender ban

President Trump issued a presidential memorandum Friday, which bans transgender people from enlisting and told the Pentagon to come up with a plan for how to implement his policy. 

The memo also gave Mattis the authority to decide whether transgender people who are already in the military can continue to serve, based on military readiness, Vox said

The ban effectively reverses the Obama administration's policy from a year earlier that allowed the thousands of transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military. 

But Trump's policy hasn't been without criticism. Earlier Tuesday, 143 House Democrats – including some from Minnesota – signed a letter to Trump calling on him to reverse the ban

And on Monday, the ACLU and some transgender service members said they're suing Trump in an attempt to stop his transgender ban from taking effect.

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