Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today announced after a year-long review, transgender individuals will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military.
Following this announcement, the Navy is moving forward to implement the Department of Defense’s new policy that allows transgender service. The Navy has begun the process of implementing this decision in consultation with the Department of Defense and other services. We will develop a plan that provides training to our Sailors as well as updates our policies and procedures so that this change will proceed smoothly across the Navy in the coming months and years. We are committed to removing barriers that prevent service members from serving in any capacity based on their abilities and qualifications and want men and women in the Navy who are the right fit for the right job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or creed.
“We welcome today’s announcement that the Department of Defense will lift the restrictions preventing transgender individuals from serving their nation,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “The Department of the Navy remains committed to ensuring that all who wish to serve have the opportunity to do so, and the Navy and Marine Corps, making implementation of this new policy a priority, will work to expedite the process to the maximum extent possible. Our diversity is one of our force’s greatest advantages and today’s announcement will only make us stronger.”
Here are nine things you need to know about the Department of Defense’s new policy change.
- The Navy and the other services will follow the implementation timeline outlined by the Department of Defense. We will develop a plan that updates our policies and procedures and provides training to the force so that this change will proceed smoothly across the Navy.
- Effective immediately, transgender service members may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.
- These policies will be implemented in stages over the next 12 months—starting most immediately with addressing the needs of current service members and their commanders, and followed by training for the entire force, and ultimately, beginning to admit transgender recruits.
- For those transgender service members already serving today, they will be able to begin the process to officially change their gender in our personnel management systems no later than Oct. 1 (90 days after this announcement).
- Those Sailors who desire to transition will be required to submit a “Treatment Plan” developed with their medical provider. This plan will assist in the development of a Transition Plan as agreed to by the Sailor, their commanding officer and their medical provider. We expect more guidance on transition procedures to be released in the coming months.
- We are in the process of completing a variety of training products for the Fleet. Training will be conducted in the coming months by command triads via mobile training teams or DVDs with a facilitation guide for units in remote areas and unable to receive the face-to-face training. There will also be webinars for COs to ask questions prior to delivering training to their commands. Additionally, in order to best serve the Fleet, a DoD guide and a Commander’s Tool Kit will be available to provide resources, guidance and to help answer questions in the coming months.
- To help answer Sailors’ questions, the Navy will establish a call center on July 5. To talk to someone, or to leave a message, please dial: 1-855-628-9311 (1-855-NAVY-9311). Sailors will need to press “0” and follow a series of prompts, or they can email: Navy311@navy.mil.
- As part of the Navy’s implementation process, we are looking at what changes will need to be made for the physical readiness program, uniform and grooming standards, urinalysis, personal privacy and equal opportunity policies. We are taking a hard look at how to provide personal privacy for all our Sailors and recognize this is a concern for many.
- Updated active and reserve policies will be very similar. We are working on a policy that applies to transgender Sailors in the reserves as per DoD policy and will outline specific reserve considerations as part of the Navy’s implementation process.
Editor’s note: For additional questions, please view DOD’s Transgender Policy Implementation: A Note to Commanders.