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More Than 100 Troops Inform Military They're Seeking Transgender Care

More Than 100 Troops Inform Military They're Seeking Transgender Care

(AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 10 November 2016 01:40 PM

More than 100 troops informed the military they want to transition to the opposite sex, be formally recognized in their new gender, and looking for counseling or medical treatment, according to USA Today.

The Pentagon's policy of allowing transgender troops to serve openly went into effect Oct. 1.

About 55 enlisted sailors and officers have let their commanders know they want to transition, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cdr. Nate Christensen, reports USA Today, and 48 airmen are seeking transgender medical care or counseling, according to Air Force spokesman Maj. William Lewis.

Ten Army soldiers have formally sought recognition for their new gender, Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Associated Press in October.

The Navy's chief of personnel, Vice Adm. Robert Burke, sent an email, obtained by USA Today, about the transgender sailors and urged that Navy policy be abided.

"Today, we know of approximately 55 sailors who have waited for this policy to be finalized, and desire a gender transition," the email said. "With few exceptions, these sailors have had faith that the Navy would come through, and they observed all regulations and standards applicable to their birth gender."

"We would ask that your leaders assist our sailors in conforming to Navy regulations and uphold Navy standards of conduct as we navigate this change," Burke added.

The exceptions Burke noted are sailors who sought treatment before the policy was finalized. The Pentagon's repeal of the ban on transgender troops was announced on June 30, after months of debate.

Some members of military brass were against the removal of the ban, fearing the change was happening too fast. When the repeal was announced, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not appear with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

According to USA Today, transgender troops make up a small fraction of the 1.3 million troops on active study. A study by RAND Corp. found that there as many as 6,630 transgender troops, and dozens would seek hormone treatment or surgery.

Treating them would cost $8.4 million, or $50,000 individually, the newspaper says.

Transgender sailors must prove to medical personnel that transition is medically necessary before treatment starts, according to guidance given to commanders, according to USA Today. Treatment could consist of being allowed to wear the opposite gender's clothing or hairstyle during off-duty hours, and ultimately, hormone treatment and reassignment surgery.

"To remain the finest seagoing fighting force the world has ever known, the Navy needs people who are the right fit for the right job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or gender identity," said Christensen, reports USA Today.

"Our goal is to ensure that the mission is carried out by the best-qualified and the most capable service members. If an individual can meet the Navy's standards, they should be afforded the opportunity to serve."

The Navy Times published the rules for sailors and Marines who seek gender reassignment surgery.

"No otherwise qualified Service Member may be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service solely on the basis of gender identity or an expressed intent to transition gender," Burke wrote, according to the Times.

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More than 100 troops informed the military they want to transition to the opposite sex, be formally recognized in their new gender, and looking for counseling or medical treatment, according to USA Today.
troops, military, seek, transgender, care
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2016-40-10
Thursday, 10 November 2016 01:40 PM
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