Some DivThu kind of write themselves - and this is one of those times. I thought of a few ways to cover this, and I've decided to take my own advice - I'll keep it simple.
Below is the full DoD Handbook on transgender service in our military. I'll let you review it yourself.
Of note, I have received some Navy specific direction and guidance as well that I will not be publishing here for simplicity's sake.
I know some of you cannot get the attachment until you get home or to a desktop, so let me summarize a few above-the-fold points for you - plus an additional few from USN documents not posted here that I received SEPCOR from my nest of spies;
- Though Dr. Frankenfurter may disagree, I may have to put myself on report already. Evidently, the language police have decided that “transvestite” is an outdated term that is considered derogatory. They go further to make sure that we all know that a “cross-dresser” is a person who wears clothing of the opposite sex for reasons other than gender identity. A transgender person who dresses according to their gender identity is not “cross-dressing.” So, hopefully that is clear. A guy who dresses like a woman today may or may not be cross-dressing, but may or may not be tomorrow for doing the same thing depending on how they define their gender today. Or not.
- The briefing materiel keeps emphasizing that there is no attempt to change anyone's opinion about the subject of transgender individuals. That just makes no sense.
- Accessions will be fully open effective 01 JUL 2017.
- The Military Health System will be required to provide all medically necessary care related to gender transition.
- Preferred Gender will be recognized only after the gender marker in DEERS is changed - except for the lawyer-full-employment-act exceptions that creep up every third page or so.
- Real Life Experience (RLE) is when a man dresses like a woman when DEERS considers them still a man, or vice versa. That is fine and dandy when off duty. All command functions will be considered "On Duty" - so I guess you have to dress in whatever manner your DEERS says you can. There are four different categories of RLE that the Navy recognizes, but to go through the matrix of how everyone is supposed to carry out the plan of the day inside those definitions would require a dedicated post on that alone, and my DD-214 blanket is just too comfortable and I am exercising my right to snuggle deep enough in there so I don't have to.
- Commanding Officers must approve a medical treatment plan. COs can't say, "no" - can only try to adjust the timeline. Commanding Officers - remember, COs of warships etc here - are given responsibility for everything in this process when it comes to coordinating with the Sailor for all things from who watches them pee in a bottle, to berthing, to their medical plan. Talk about an administrative burden. Did anyone with recent Command at Sea have a say in this? Did anyone care if they did? That's OK though, we have created another bureaucratic office; the Navy Transgender Service Central Coordination Cell (SCCC) in Arlington VA to help everyone out. So that is nice.
- Associated medical care will be treated like any other medical condition.
- The transitioning servicemember will inform their leadership when their medical condition causes the member to be non-deployable and may need to transfer to a shore unit. Yes, read that again.
- PRT standards are determined by DEERS gender marker, though it can be waived. Yes, keep your local JAG handy.
- You cannot disclose who is "transitioning." Even after changing their gender on DEERS, they may still retain their "birth-gender" (yes, our Navy uses that term now) anatomy.
- If you ID as female but still have all the male hardware and it is time for urinalysis, you will have sexual males keeping an eye on sexual females and the other way around - and they won't know until droptrou. Of course, that is silly. Everyone will know regardless of the privacy demands of the transitioned individual, but we've ignored human nature and reality so far, so why stop now.
- The US Attorney General determined that discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination ... so if you are a female and object (though remember, no one is trying to change your personal opinion) to having to share a room or shower or observe peeing a fully intact sexual male, guess what - you are behaving in a sexually discriminatory manner. COs, if you have concerns, you are being sexist. I think that is clear, and I don't think you want to be the test case. Sure, you might avoid NJP or Courts Martial, but that would take at least two FITREP cycles and no one is going to chance their #1 bullet on you. Thank you for your service. You cannot refuse any duty based on moral issues either.
- Here is a direct quote from the CO's handbook - something that contradicts other statements about berthing and head assignments only happening post-DEERS change, "The Commanding Officer and Sailor may amend the Transition plan to allow the earlier use of appropriate-gender facilities prior to the administrative change of gender completion if it is beneficial, desirable, and to the Sailor's comfort level." Yes, read that again. Sure, DEERS says "Male" but he wants to live in female berthing. Nothing about that being "beneficial, desirable, and to the Sailor's comfort level" for female Sailors, but if I read all the guidance correctly, they don't matter. Any objections they have are discriminatory and therefor ... you know the drill. I think I may have to put myself on report again for using the pronoun "he" - but I really have no idea at this point.
- Once they change their ID in DEERS, Navy now considers it "disrespectful and offensive" if you use the wrong pronoun. So, biology is no longer a science, it is political. Being science based is detrimental to your career. Be careful out there.
- For the 18-24 months of the transition period the sailor is probably undeployable and almost certainly won't be able to be on sea duty.
- There's nothing to prevent the sailor from later transitioning back, although they'd have to get rediagnosed. The, "I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body" is no longer a joke, I think it may be protected class - I'd have to ask the JAG.
- Sailors on hormone replacement therapy will not be able to be in dive or aviation status. After five years (I think) of hormone therapy they can return to flight status. The FAA apparently requires seven years. So, probably won't see any TG aviators, aircrew, or SEALs anytime soon.
- We won't recruit anyone that has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria unless they've been stable in the new gender for (I think) two years. BUT, there's nothing to stop someone from joining and getting a fully paid transition and 18 months of shore duty by *discovering* they have gender dysphoria sometime after bootcamp. This is a perverse incentive for these individuals to join and conceal their condition.
- Only ~25% of TG individuals undergo full surgical transition. However, once the individual's transition is complete and their 'gender marker' is updated in DEERS, they then are required to live in the berthing and use the shower/toilet facilities of their preferred gender. Ergo, biological men with their genitals intact will be able to shower with women and vice versa. Actually, it isn't "will be able to" - it will be "required to." Also, biological women will be required to shower and use toilet facilities with biological men without objection. To object is to be guilty of sexual discrimination. Starting to get it yet?
- The solution to this is going to be revising the SORM to require everyone to cover their naughty-bits in shower facilities, locker rooms, and berthings. I kid you not. Big Navy is scraping up some money to renovate the open-bay showers at boot camp but the rest of the fleet is on their own to figure this out.
- Here is something for you philosophy majors to ponder; is this simply the inevitable conclusion of post-modernism, where subjective experience is true and objective reality doesn't exist.?
- How do you deconflict the need of female SAPR victims to feel safe in their berthing with the requirement for transitioned (but surgically unaltered) TG males to live in female berthing? Not just sleeping, showering, hitting the head at 3am. You know the drill.
- Is this being rushed through in a haphazard manner? DADT repeal was a model of thoughtful preparation and was largely a non-event. In contrast, the SECNAV signed the instruction for this the day the master mobile training teams finished training.
Laugh, cry or scream. So ... I guess it's OK now to talk about the best Halloween outfit Mrs. Salamander ever picked out for me. I still have the legs to carry it off, so don't hate me because I'm beautiful.