WASHINGTON (ChruchMilitant.com) - The Navy and Marines plan to help transgender soldiers transition and change sex while they are enlisted.
On August 8, the Navy Times released plans to accommodate transgenders in the service. The Navy is "preparing to provide medical and administrative support for transitioning sailors and Marines, train personnel on the particulars of serving in a transgender-inclusive force and, by next summer, accept transgender recruits into boot camp," Navy Times writes.
On October 1, the Navy will issue an updated handbook that includes the new transgender policies. In the summer of 2017, ROTC, bootcamps, officer school and the Naval Academy will begin admitting transgender persons.
To be recognized and treated as transgender, one must receive an official diagnosis from a medical professional. Once the doctor finds that gender transition is "necessary," the transitioning process may begin, and the soldier will receive both medical and administrative treatment.
On August 5, the Navy released a message to all personnel explaining details of the transgender policy implementations.
"Policies for the service of transgender Sailors and Marines will be implemented in stages over the next year," it states, "starting most immediately with addressing the needs of current Sailors and Marines, followed by training for the entire force, and ultimately accession of transgender applicants."
The Military Health System will be required to provide transgender soldiers all medically necessary care related to gender transition. Sailors and marines will be able to begin the process to officially change their gender in personnel management systems. After the transition, the soldier will use military berthing, bathroom and shower facilities associated with his preferred gender.
All transgender persons will be treated as if their gender identity were their true biological sex, and a soldier will not be prohibited from service or re-enlistment based solely on his gender identity.
Beginning in fall 2016, a transgender person will be able to register the gender he identifies with in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, DEERS. DEERS is used to register service members for benefits from the military health care service, TRICARE.
This is the final step of the transitioning process. After a soldier has updated his gender in DEERS, the process is officially complete.
Transgender persons currently enlisted in the Navy or Marines are the first to be assisted. After them, all other incoming recruits and members of development programs are eligible for treatment.