Transgender service members have 1 month to qualify for possible gender transition

Transgender service members have 1 month to qualify for possible gender transition

Published
Two panels of Defense Department officials testify on the Defense Department’s transgender service policy at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee, Feb. 27, 2019 (DoD photo)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is moving forward with a plan to severely limit transgender troops and military recruits from transitioning to another sex, restricting most individuals to serve in their gender designated at birth.

Two Pentagon officials, briefing reporters on background Wednesday, said the policy is to take hold on April 12. They said current personnel can use that time to see if they qualify for gender transition if needed.

No one will be discharged under the new policy, the officials repeatedly said in a call with Pentagon reporters. Officials said that transgender troops currently serving and anyone who has signed an enlistment contract by April 12 could continue with plans for hormone treatments and gender transition if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

If implemented as outlined Wednesday, the new policy would not match President Donald Trump’s declared ban on all transgender individuals serving in the military.

Multiple lawsuits were filed when Trump announced the ban via Twitter in July 2017. Last week, a federal court in Baltimore lifted a preliminary injunction that had prevented implementing the ban, similar to what the Supreme Court did in January in two other courts.

“This is not this is not a ban on transgender (individuals) serving in the military,” one of the Pentagon officials said Wednesday. “This deals with gender dysphoria. We realize that not all transgender individuals have gender dysphoria.”

That means that only individuals who have never had hormone treatment or surgery will be allowed to enter the military as recruits. Those who transitioned to a new gender cannot enter the service.

According to Merriam-Webster, gender dysphoria is defined as “a distressed state arising from conflict between a person’s gender identity and the sex the person has or was identified as having at birth.”

The official said Pentagon “values all individuals that meet our standards” and that individuals that could have “a potential negative impact on force readiness…must be evaluated” with regards to the lethality of the force.

The officials said there was no scientific data available as to the number of transgender individuals in the military. They said a 2016 survey showed 9,000 individuals self-identifying as transgender “and are serving honorably in the terms and adhering to the standard of their biological sex.”

One of the officials said approximately 1,000 service members currently are diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

One of the officials said gender dysphoria is one of 35 pages of medical conditions that “presumptively disqualify the people from entering the military.”

Waivers for individuals already in uniform will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, to be determined by individual service secretaries, according to the new policy.

The new policy was signed into approval Tuesday night by David Norquist, the acting deputy Defense secretary,

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