Army issues new transgender policy, but can it prevent discrimination?

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The military announced a new level of service policy on Thursday that allows transgender soldiers to serve openly – in line with Defense Ministry guidelines announced in March – while receiving medical care and setting entry standards for potential recruits diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Some advocates, however, remain concerned that the force may be unwilling to protect transgender soldiers from discrimination after a field chaplain officer received only a local reprimand this week for qualifying the troops. transgender people from “MedBoard for Mental Wellness Waiting to Happen” and “a waste of military resources and funding” in Facebook’s public comments.

The new directive, a modified version of a similar policy first announced in 2016 and then repealed via a Tweet from former President Donald Trump, states that “a soldier’s gender identity will no longer be a basis for an involuntary separation or a military dismissal, a refusal of re-enlistment or continuation of the service, or subjected to unfavorable actions or to ill-treatment ”, according to a press release of the army.

For a soldier already in uniform, the transition begins with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from their primary care provider and follow-up appointments with a specialist, said Col. Deidra Briggs-Anthony, assistant health affairs assistant for labor and reserve affairs.

The military is asking commanders to treat gender dysphoria like any other illness or injury by coordinating with their soldiers and caregivers to establish and support a treatment plan, Briggs-Anthony said during a panel discussion with the media.

Medical treatment for gender dysphoria can include four components, from “cross-sex hormone therapy, to real-life experience and… to surgery,” Briggs-Anthony said.

“Once the treatment plan is complete, if the member then wishes to change their gender marker to reflect this self-identified gender after it has been confirmed that stability has been achieved,” she said, he can ask for a gender change that “goes through the administrative channels of the staff.

According to the statement, people living with gender dysphoria who wish to join the military in their self-identified gender can do so after 18 months of stability, provided they meet medical and moral standards for membership and possess a government identification or court order confirming their self – identified gender.

Anti-discrimination policies

“This policy continues to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or identification of an individual as transgender,” said Major General Douglas Stitt, director of the office of military personnel management. Army G-1, alluding to anti-discrimination language in army command. Politics.

But the application of the policy has been called into question.

After his Facebook comments on trans troops, an Army investigator discovered that the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade chaplain, Major Andrew Calvert, had violated anti-discrimination policy and prohibitions against faults online.

Army chaplain Major Andrew Calvert, pictured here as a captain, calls on a GOMOR for his social media activity.  (Chaplaincy center and school / army)

Army Times first reported on the investigation, which resulted in a general officer’s reprimand memorandum, a form of administrative sanction that, when filed permanently, is widely viewed as a career killer.

But after a written appeal on Calvert’s behalf by the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to religious freedom, the commander of III Corps, Lt. Gen. Robert White chose this week to locally file GOMOR.

The local depot means that the next time Calvert moves, the GOMOR will be destroyed.

“We are very happy for Chaplain Calvert and congratulate the military on making the right decision,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for the First Liberty Institute. “No serviceman should ever be punished for their religious beliefs.”

Another defender who often disagrees with First Liberty disagreed.

“I would call it miserable hypocrisy to sit there with this new policy, so you have a field officer, a chaplain…[get] a local GOMOR that instantly disappears when [is reassigned] as if that has never been there, ”said Mikey Weinstein, lawyer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

“What does it say? This is the height of hypocrisy; this is an outrageous scandal,” Weinstein said in a telephone interview on Friday.

When Army Times asked about Calvert’s punishment for well-founded allegations of discrimination against transgender soldiers, Stitt – the director of the G-1 MPMO – simply said that “all soldiers are treated with dignity and respect, and the Politics provides that no otherwise qualified soldier may be subjected to adverse action or treatment solely on the basis of gender identity. “

Lt. Col. Junel Jeffrey, spokesperson for the Army Manpower and Reserves Office, explained in a telephone interview that an upcoming Army-wide mandatory training on gender dysphoria and discrimination against transgender troops should help alleviate the problem.

She pointed out that the first phase of the training will be aimed at chaplains, military lawyers, medical professionals and staff of Inspectors General. Any training on the updated policy must be completed by June 25, 2022, according to the military statement.

But policy and training won’t be enough if there isn’t a proper application, Weinstein noted.

“[It] destroys everything for the military when it comes to strengthening diversity, unity and equity, ”he said.


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