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Photo via US Army Afrca/Flickr (CC-BY)
But it may be two more years until transgender troops can officially serve.
As the U.S. military’s transgender inclusion deadline for July 1 draws near, the U.S. Army has created a mandatory transgender training session for all officers, non-commissioned officers, and civilians working with soldiers.
Titled “Transgender Training,” the training course is a 50-minute lesson “that will assist soldiers in understanding Army policy for the military service of transgender soldiers so that they can implement the policy while maintaining morale, readiness, and good order and discipline,” according to USA Today. The training module also focuses on the “key roles and responsibilities” that commanders, trans troops, and medical personnel must carry out in order to assure transgender soldiers are cared for during service, according to an email from Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson.
Some officers have already completed the training segment, whereas others have yet to fulfill the sensitivity training requirement. But while the session is intended to aid officers in acclimating to the military’s inclusion for transgender troops, it remains unclear when the Pentagon will officially establish rules for including transgender personnel.
Earlier this year, two transgender cadets were barred from entering service amidst the policy’s slow introduction. More trans graduates may be barred from entering in 2018 if a policy isn’t rolled out in 2017. Both the Army and Marine Corps are requesting an additional two years to create policies for transgender acceptance.
For the time being, the Trump administration will not be challenging the Obama administration’s guidelines for transgender inclusion in the armed forces. A May 31 memo sent out by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work noted that the Defense Department will not rescind the Obama administration’s plan unless trans acceptance could “cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
H/T USA Today
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.