A top-ranked Air Force general said Tuesday the Pentagon's delay in setting up a new policy for transgender service members has to do with science.
Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee military leaders are still trying to get a grasp on certain elements of the issue.
"I am an advocate of every qualified person who can meet the physical standards to serve in our uniformed services to be able to do so," Selva said, according to the Military Times.
"Our decision to delay the accessions . . . was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental healthcare and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve the medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria."
Selva, who entered the Air Force in 1980, added officials also need to make sure the proper infrastructure is in place to deal with transgender service members before a policy is enacted.
"The service chiefs asked for additional time to assess so that they can make their necessary changes to infrastructure, as well as training curriculum for our basic trainees who come in in transgender status, particularly those who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery," he said.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently approved a six-month delay to allow openly transgender people to join the military.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., introduced legislation last week that would stop the government from paying for members of the military to have gender reassignment surgery.
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