Pentagon: Transgender people can enlist in military Jan. 1

FILE - In this Sunday, June 11, 2017 file photo, Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington. A federal court in Washington is barring President Donald Trump from changing the government's policy on military service by transgender people. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Pentagon official tells The Associated Press that transgender people can enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition.

The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump’s demand to ban transgender individuals from the military.

Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban.

Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services.

Maj. David Eastburn says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Department of Defense also is studying the issue.

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