The Trump administration is considering an expansion of the Pentagon’s existing ban on transgender people serving openly, as well as making changes to its rules for transgender recruits, according to multiple military officials.
“We have no plans to lift that ban,” Army Secretary John McHugh told Fox News during an interview Tuesday.
The new restrictions are in response to the growing number of suicides among the roughly 3,500 transgender people currently serving in the U.S. armed forces.
The Pentagon is considering adding an additional 10 transgender troops to the military’s existing force, which currently consists of about 1,200 men and women.
The current rules prohibit transgender people from serving in any capacity.
The military has been conducting a “psychosocial evaluation” of recruits to determine whether they would be able to withstand the psychological and physical stress of a long, grueling training regimen.
In the future, the military is expected to ask recruits about the psychological effects of “rubber banding,” the military slang for having the genitals removed or reshaped.
The current ban was put in place after the Navy killed a transgender sailor who was shot and killed by an angry Marine in a 2009 incident in which she attempted to flee a hostile environment.