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Oklahoma native Aaron Wixson is one of the first transgender men to serve in the Marines, and thanks to the Department of Defense’s new transgender policy, he will finally be able to change his name and gender in the DoD database.
On Oct. 1, the DoD released a comprehensive policy for transgender individuals stating, “Transgender service members may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.” The military will also provide medical care for trans service members to transition to the gender they identify.
This is a big win for transgender people currently serving in the military. As Wixson told CNN, “I will feel that I am finally seen as who I really am.”
Under the new policy, Lance Cpl. Aaron Wixson will be able to use male facilities and abide by male dress code policies after he completes treatment, but Wixson has already filed an “exception to policy” to start these transitions before completing treatment. He came out to his command earlier this year and says he has the support of his family, his command, and the military as he undergoes this transition.
Critics of the new transgender policy claim it will somehow alter troop readiness and decrease troop morale, but a study done by the Rand Corp. concluded that openly serving transgender people in the military will have a minimal impact on unit cohesion and minimal impact on morale. The study also noted that removing transgender care exclusions from military health care would benefit transgender people serving for a “minimal cost per month.”
Back in June, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Americans, “Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who can best accomplish the mission.”
Mehak Anwar is a reporter whose work focuses on LGBTQ rights, intersectional feminism, and race. Her byline has appeared in Bustle and the Huffington Post.