Military Issues New Guidance for Transgender Recruits

Transgender Universe

By Mila Madison

The United States Military is proceeding with plans to begin enlisting transgender people on January 1st despite ongoing legal challenges. Though the Justice Department is appealing the ruling, a federal judge had recently declined to put the January deadline on hold. The current administration is in the midst of multiple lawsuits after President Trump’s proposed transgender military ban. To date, the administration has been unsuccessful in administering the policy.

A new guidance memo issued on December 8th requires personnel to permit the “accession of qualified transgender applicants.” It also states that the implementation of the January 1st policy is mandatory. Navy Capt. David Kemp, commander of US Military Entrance Processing Command, wrote the seven-page memorandum.

Some of the highlights of the new guidance include:

  • It is required that every applicant is treated with “dignity and respect.”

  • An applicant’s preferred gender will be used on all forms asking for the “sex” of the applicant.

  • All projections and processing actions will be based on the preferred gender of the applicant.

  • Transgender recruits are required to be 18 months past having gender affirmation surgery to be eligible to enlist while not having any functional limitations, complications, or follow-up surgeries pending.

  • Applicants must not be clinically experiencing any significant distress in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

  • Applicant must be declared stable in their preferred gender for a period of 18 months.

  • Applicants who are on hormone replacement therapy must have been on treatment for 18 months.

There are also some questionable items listed in the guidance.

  • For non-binary applicants, male will be used for the designation of “sex” on all forms.

  • An applicant’s preferred gender must be verified using a birth certificate, court order, or passport reflecting the preferred gender.

  • Recruiters are required to obtain letters from appropriate medical providers attesting that the applicant is medically stable.

  • During pre-screening, medical documents must be provided regarding any counseling, surgery, or hormone treatments that facilitated the applicant’s transition.

  • Recruits will be required to wear undergarments that match their physical genitalia, and not their preferred gender.

  • Applicants can be disqualified for having gender dysphoria if it impacts social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

  • If an applicant discloses they are transgender during prescreening and have not begun the process of transition, they will be given a Return Justified date to return in 18 months, at which time they will be required to provide documentation showing that they are stable in their preferred gender.

The new guidance applies to all military branches and will remain in effect pending the results of any ongoing legal proceedings.