The FAQs: What You Should Know About the Military’s Transgender Policy

On Wednesday President Trump tweeted that the current policy will be changing

“On Thursday officials at the Pentagon clarified that the tweets are not considered an order from the commander in chief. According to the Associated Press, transgender troops will be allowed to remain in uniform until Defense Secretary Mattis receives an authoritative directive to remove them.”

 

What is the military’s current policy on transgenderism?

In June 2016, Ash Carter, the secretary of defense under President Obama, repealed the ban on allowing transgender men and women to serve openly in the military. At the time, Sec. Carter gave the services one year to implement any necessary changes.

At the beginning of this month Defense Secretary Jim Mattis modified the policy by putting a six-month hold on allowing additional transgender people from enlisting in the service.

Didn’t President Trump change the policy this week?

No, not yet. On Wednesday President Trump tweeted that the current policy will be changing:

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

But on Thursday officials at the Pentagon clarified that the tweets are not considered an order from the commander in chief. According to the Associated Press, transgender troops will be allowed to remain in uniform until Defense Secretary Mattis receives an authoritative directive to remove them. For now, “there will be no modifications” to current policy, said Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an internal memo to all military service chiefs, commanders, and enlisted leaders.

How does the current policy affect transgender people and others in the military?

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army began implementing mandatory training to educate soldiers on the service’s transgender policy. This training provides some insight on how the policy is being implemented. Some of the changes are:

• If the “gender transition is medically necessary” the soldier “will be provided medical care and treatment for the diagnosed medical condition” at the taxpayer expense.

• If approved by a doctor, soldiers will be held to the standards of their gender marker in DEERS (i.e., their personnel record). In other words, by receiving the certification by a physician and changing the “gender marker” in his paperwork, a man who identifies as a woman will be allowed to use the lower physical fitness standards for women and can be restricted from serving in positions requiring routine exposure to direct combat.

• Soldiers will use the billeting, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with their gender marker in DEERS.

• Soldiers are told that it is considered “gossip” to reveal a “Soldier’s gender identity, sexuality, medical challenges, and/or gender transition.”

• Soldiers going through the gender transition process may be eligible for “extended leave status or participation in other voluntary absence programs during the gender transition process” or receive special treatment, such as having their physical fitness test delayed.

• The training tells soldiers to “understand that you may encounter individuals in barracks, bathrooms, or shower facilities with physical characteristics of the opposite sex despite having the same gender marker in DEERS.”

• The document adds, “all Soldiers should be respectful of the privacy and modesty concerns of others. However, transgender Soldiers are not required or expected to modify or adjust their behavior based on the fact that they do not ‘match’ other Soldiers.”

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