October 25, 2016
By Lorra B.
A small number of soldiers in the U.S. Army have publicly acknowledged they are transgender and have asked to be addressed and recognized as their new gender.
The 10 service members are only but a few who have gone public and does not include “soldiers who may be considering or beginning gender transition or those who don’t yet want to make an official paperwork change,” according to Associated Press.
On October 1 the new Pentagon policy regarding transgenders took effect. Army’s chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, insists that education is the key to the transgender transition.
Milley stated, “Is the army ready? Well, we are educating ourselves, and we are trying to get ready. We’re well-past the issue of debating and arguing about transgender. We are now into execution, to make sure the program is carried out with diligence, dignity, respect.”
Arron Belkin from the independent research institute, Palm Center, states, “We’re monitoring implementation closely, and everything we’ve seen so far points to a military organization fully committed to treating everyone equally and providing medically necessary care to all troops, not just some. “My conclusion, so far, is that implementation has proceeded smoothly and successfully.”
Next year all military services will allow individuals who are transgender to enlist. They will be able to receive all medical care needed to begin their gender reassignment if they have been in their chosen gender role for the last 18 months and have done so in a stable manner.
Not everyone is on board with this new decision and many believe that the military is moving ahead far too swiftly which could lead to all kinds of problems.
Milley stated, “The issue to do it or not to do it, to me is not an issue…The question of how to do it so that it is deliberate, well thought out, executed with professionalism — that’s a horse of a different color. Frankly I asked for more time.”
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but there are some things I don’t think you need to necessarily be trained on,” Milley went on to say. “Rule One is treat your soldiers, your subordinates, your peers and your superiors as you want to be treated. Treat everybody with dignity and respect. Period. Flat out. Full stop.”
Bathrooms, uniforms, housing and fitness standards will be adapted to the transgender’s new identity after their legal transformation though each case will be evaluated on an individual basis and “on the needs of the military mission and whether the service members can perform their duties.”
It’s a new day and a new military and of which, according to Milley, “We may not know the full scope yet.”
By Lorra B.