Pentagon Announce New Transgender Service Member Policies On ‘International Transgender Day Of Visibility’: Everything You Need To Know
ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 02: Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby answers questions at the Pentagon September 2, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby commented on the current situation in Iraq, Ukraine, and a recent operation by U.S. forces in Somalia.
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Earlier this week on “International Transgender Day of Visibility,” the Pentagon announced their latest policies and regulations regarding transgender people in the military.

In a statement, the Department of Defense wrote, “The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect.”

Here is a breakdown of the key components of the Pentagon’s policies.

Provide Service members a process by which they may transition gender while serving

In Section 1.2. (Policy), the new regulations dictate that the Department of Defense and military departments “will institute policies to provide Service members a process by which they may transition gender while serving. These policies are based on the conclusion that open service by transgender persons who are subject to the same high standards and procedures as other Service members with regard to medical fitness for duty, physical fitness, uniform and grooming standards, deployability, and retention is consistent with military service and readiness.”

The policies also state that “All Service members must be treated with dignity and respect,” and that no person may be “Involuntarily separated or discharged from the Military Services; Denied reenlistment or continuation of service in the Military Services; or Subjected to adverse action or mistreatment” based on gender identity.

Health care for transgender Service members, including gender transition

In Section 2.4. (Director, Defense Health Agency), the new regulations call for relevant organizations and agencies to provide or coordinate “guidance and oversight, as appropriate, to standardize the provision of medically necessary health care for transgender Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria.”

This section also specifically adds that this should include those for whom “gender transition is determined to be medically necessary by a medical provider.”

Further responsibilities include overseeing the “development and use of clinical practice guidelines to support the medical treatment plan and projected schedule for treatment of Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” the “development and use of clinical practice guidelines to support the continuity of care for Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” establishing procedures which “require that education and training on transgender health care are conducted,” and ensuring “appropriate standards and procedures under the Supplemental Health Care Program for transgender health care services.”

Gender transition regulations

Section 3 of the regulations relate to “Gender Transition.” This section begins by stating, “Except where an exception to policy has been granted transgender Service members will be subject to the same standards as all other Service members.”

When it comes to standards which relate to sex (such as medical fitness for duty), “all Service members will be subject to the standard, requirement, or policy associated with their gender marker in DEERS,” the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.

The regulations continued, saying that “The Military Departments and Services recognize a Service member’s gender by the Service member’s gender marker in DEERS. Consistent with that gender marker, the Services apply, and the Service member must meet, all standards for uniforms and grooming; body composition assessment (BCA); physical readiness testing (PRT); Military Personnel Drug Abuse Testing Program (MPDATP) participation; and other military standards applied with consideration of the Service member’s gender.”

“For facilities subject to regulation by the military, Service members will use those berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with their gender marker in DEERS,” the regulations add.

The Service member’s gender marker in DEERs will be changed to “recognize” their self-identified gender “When a cognizant military medical provider determines that a Service member’s gender transition is complete, and at a time approved by the commander in consultation with the Service member concerned.”

Special military considerations

The regulations state that “Gender transition while serving in the military presents unique challenges associated with addressing the needs of the Service member in a manner consistent with military mission and readiness.”

“Where possible, gender transition should be conducted such that a Service member would meet all applicable standards and be available for duty in the birth gender before a change in the Service member’s gender marker in DEERS and would meet all applicable standards and be available for duty in the self-identified gender after the change in gender marker,” the regulations continue. In other words, “where possible” Service members should meet all standards prior to changing their gender, and should meet such standards after changing their gender “where possible.”

“However,” the regulations add, “since every transition is unique, the policies and procedures set forth herein provide flexibility to the Military Departments, Services, and commanders, in addressing transitions that may or may not follow this construct. These policies and procedures are applicable, in whole or in relevant part, to Service members who intend to begin transition, are beginning transition, who already may have started transition, and who have completed gender transition and are stable in their self-identified gender.”

Regarding the conclusion of an in-service transition, “With regard to facilities subject to regulation by the military, a Service member whose gender marker has been changed in DEERS will use those berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with his or her gender marker in DEERS.”

When it comes to the timing of the transition, “A blanket prohibition on gender transition during a Service member’s first term of service is not permissible.” 


In a “Glossary” section, the regulations define various acronyms and terms used, with “Medically necessary” treatment or transition being defined as “Health-care services or supplies necessary to prevent, diagnose, or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms, and that meet accepted standards of medicine.”

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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