U.S. Military Extends Support to Transgender Servicemembers, Ends Ban on Transgender Troops
A long-standing ban on transgender troops is no longer valid after Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter repealed anti-trans Pentagon policies on June 30, 2016.
Effective immediately, the military cannot discharge active transgender servicemembers, deny reinstatement, or involuntarily separate them due to their gender identity. Repeal of the ban on transgender troops will take place over a year, with the final measure to be the inclusion of transgender men and women in active recruiting campaigns.
Policies regarding transgender troops will also be undergoing several changes. New training material for commanders of transgender troops will approach sensitivity and privacy of these troops. The Pentagon is also establishing protocol to handle military-provided medical care and altering a servicemember’s records to reflect their correct gender identity.
Current transgender servicemembers will be able to receive all medically necessary care from military health care staff starting on October 1. Military doctors will be responsible for determining what care is necessary on a case-by-case basis. The military will consider approving gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy, but not cosmetic surgery.
When recruitment begins for transgender servicemembers, the individual must have already completed gender reassignment-related medical care and have a certification from a doctor stating they have been “stable in their current gender” for at least 18 months. Once enlisted, transgender servicemembers should have access to the same ongoing medical care as needed to maintain their gender health.
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