Transgender troops can still serve in military: Mattis

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday current policy regarding transgender personnel serving in the military would remain in place until he advises President Donald Trump on how to implement his directive on a transgender ban.

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States Secretary of Defence James Mattis said transgender service members can remain in the military for now, despite President Donald Trump's memo to the Pentagon last week banning new transgender recruits.

In a statement on Tuesday (Aug 29), Mr Mattis said transgender soldiers can serve in uniform while an expert panel works to provide recommendations on the matter.

The Department of Defence faces a February deadline to submit a plan on how to implement the changes.

Mr Trump's memo issued last Friday also blocks new gender-reassignment operations for the military.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the President in federal court on Monday, saying the ban violates the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process.

The White House directive created uncertainty for thousands of transgender service members, many of whom came out after the Pentagon said in 2016 that it would allow transgender people to serve openly.