The Navy has unveiled new guidance to help ensure transgender individuals may openly join and serve in the sea service.
“All transgender persons who wish to serve in the United States Navy and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination,” the Navy said in a NAVADMIN released June 3. “The Navy remains committed to treating all persons with dignity and respect.”
“No person, solely on the basis of gender identity, will be denied accession, involuntarily separated or discharged, denied reenlistment or continuation of service, or subjected to adverse action or mistreatment,” the NAVADMIN said.
According to the new guidance, a service member must receive a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a military medical provider or civilian medical provider stipulating a gender transition is “medically necessary” to get the ball rolling on transition-related treatment.
A medical treatment plan will be crafted, and the service member will seek approval from their commanding officer concerning the timing of their request, the Navy said.
“The CO is the final approval authority for the transition plan,” the NAVADMIN said.
Next, the commanding officer must issue guidance so that readiness is not undermined as it pertains to deployment, training and “good order and discipline of the command,” among other things. The NAVADMIN also recommends commanding officers examine the service member’s planned rotation dates and other “career milestones” while signing off on the transition plan.
Military medical providers will document that the service member has wrapped up medical treatment necessary to transition, and will subsequently issue a memorandum for the service member advising his or her commanding officer to modify their gender marker in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
“Gender transition concludes when the Service Member’s gender marker in DEERS is changed, upon which the Service Member is recognized in their self-identified gender. … At this point, the Service Member must meet all applicable military standards in the self-identified gender,” the NAVADMIN said.
That means that the service member will therefore be recognized and subsequently adhere to grooming and uniform standards, physical readiness test standards and other requirements that match their sex designation in DEERS, the Navy said.
The policy updates come in response to Pentagon guidance in March, which undid policies the Trump administration imposed that essentially blocked transgender individuals from serving in the military.
The Pentagon said the update restores the Defense Department’s 2016 policies concerning transgender individuals, which allowed recruits to join the military and serve as their self-identified gender so long as standards are met and they receive medical treatment to transition.
“We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and devotion to serve in uniform,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement in March. “This is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do.”
The Pentagon’s guidance concerning transgender employees has been in effect since April 30.
The Air Force and the Space Force revised their transgender policies this spring following the Pentagon’s announcement, becoming the first of the services to do so.