First 10 Transgender Soldiers Seek Preferred Gender Recognition
According to military officials, ten transgender soldiers are seeking preferred gender recognition from the Army.
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The announcement comes only a few weeks after the Pentagon put a policy into effect that allowed transgender service members to serve openly.
In June, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the ban on transgender service members serving openly would be rid of. On October 1, the policy took effect and Army Secretary Eric Fanning approved the guidelines earlier this month.
According to a RAND study, there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in active duty military and there are between 1,500 and 4,000 in the reserves.
The Army is currently getting education programs to inform them on all of the new changes, processes and criteria involving a service members gender change. Training has to be developed by November 1 and it must be completed by next July.
Transgender troops can receive medical care and can change their gender identification in the Pentagon personnel system. By next year, transgender service members will be able to enlist as long as they have been identifying with their preferred gender for 18 months and they can meet the standards of that gender.
Transgender service members that are currently serving can request a gender change as long as they have identified as their preferred gender for 18 months and have a drivers license of their preferred gender.
Commanders have 30 days to respond for the active duty troops request and 60 days to respond to requests for soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve.
Transgender troops will be allowed to use uniforms, bathroom, housing and fitness standards of their preferred gender as long as they have legal documentation of their gender change.
Military commanders are given flexibility on a case-to-case basis regarding missions, training delays and deployments due to the difficulty of the mission and the individuals ability to perform their duties.
They can also provide “reasonable accommodations”as long as they are not trans-only areas, in order to respect the interests of other soldiers and to maintain moral and order.
Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army told the Associated Press in an interview that the transition may be too fast for the Army.
“The issue to do it or not to do it, to me is not an issue – the answer is yes,” Milley said. “The question of how to do it so that it is deliberate, well thought out, executed with professionalism – that’s a horse of a different color. Frankly I asked for more time.”