WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump's opposition, CBS News confirms. First reported by the Associated Press, the action is a response to court action, CBS News' David Martin reports. The Pentagon is not defying Mr. Trump's, but rather complying with the court ruling. 

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.  The requirement for transgender troops to enlist is that they've been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months. The remaining question, Martin says, is whether the fine print makes it harder to enlist than it would have been under the transgender enlistment standards established by the Obama administration in July 2016.

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

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

Eastburn told The Associated Press on Monday that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they've been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.

Transgender individuals receiving hormone therapy also must be stable on their medication for 18 months.

The requirements make it challenging for a transgender recruit to pass. But they mirror concerns President Barack Obama's administration laid out when the Pentagon initially lifted its ban on transgender service last year.

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