Transgender Military Service

Update: On 10 June 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a new directive regarding fair and equal treatment for transgender veterans. Click here to read the directive.

WHAT DOES “TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE” MEAN?

REGULATIONS BARRING TRANSGENDER SERVICE

TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE ABROAD

TRANSGENDER VETERANS

WORKING TOWARD TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE

TRANSGENDER SERVICE AND “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL”

FOR MORE INFORMATION


Click here to download the complete Transgender Service Members Fact Sheet in .pdf format.

Click here to view the 7/12/10 joint release between SLDN and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) regarding transgender servicemembers.

What does “Transgender Military Service” mean?

 

· The word “transgender” is commonly considered an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term includes, but is not limited to, transsexuals, cross-dressers, gender-queer people, intersex people, and other gender-variant individuals.

 

· Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.  

 

· SLDN has urged the adoption of a policy that bars discrimination in the military on the basis of gender identity and is working to maximize the opportunities for military service for individuals who fall into the various communities under the transgender umbrella.  


Regulations barring Transgender service

 

· Currently, Department of Defense regulations bar transgender people from serving in the military based on physical and mental factors.  

 

· DoDI 6130.03 is the DoD Instruction covering medical standards required for accession. This Instruction lists numerous disqualifying factors for service, including “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as change of sex [and] hermaphroditism.” Under the mental standards in the same regulation,  “current or history of psychosexual conditions, including but not limited to transsexualism [and] transvestism” is considered disqualifying. 

 

· Citations in the medical Instruction refer to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which  defines “sexual and gender identity disorders.”  

 

· Each military branch releases its own medical standards mirroring the DoD Instruction, which also mirror these disqualifiers.

 

· Waivers of the medical standards are possible, in particular when the condition will not preclude the satisfactory completion of training and military duty.  However, SLDN is not aware of any waivers being granted to permit a transgender person to serve. 

 

· In addition to medical regulations, conduct regulations can affect transgender service members. For example, cross-dressing and/or violating the binary male-female uniform system can result in punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Cross-dressing could violate UCMJ Article 133 (Conduct unbecoming) or Article 134 (General article; “To the prejudice of good order and discipline”). 

 

Transgender military service abroad

 

· Currently, at least 10 countries permit transgender service in some form: Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. 

 

· Some of these countries have regul

WHAT DOES “TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE” MEAN?

 

The word “transgender” is commonly considered an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term includes, but is not limited to, transsexuals, cross-dressers, gender-queer people, intersex people, and other gender-variant individuals.

 

Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

 

SLDN has urged the adoption of a policy that bars discrimination in the military on the basis of gender identity and is working to maximize the opportunities for military service for individuals who fall into the various communities under the transgender umbrella.

 

REGULATIONS BARRING TRANSGENDER SERVICE

 

Currently, Department of Defense regulations bar transgender people from serving in the military based on physical and mental factors.

 

DoDI 6130.03 is the DoD Instruction covering medical standards required for accession. This Instruction lists numerous disqualifying factors for service, including “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as change of sex [and] hermaphroditism.” Under the mental standards in the same regulation, “current or history of psychosexual conditions, including but not limited to transsexualism [and] transvestism” is considered disqualifying.

 

Citations in the medical Instruction refer to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which defines “sexual and gender identity disorders.”

 

Each military branch releases its own medical standards mirroring the DoD Instruction, which also mirror these disqualifiers.

 

Waivers of the medical standards are possible, in particular when the condition will not preclude the satisfactory completion of training and military duty. However, SLDN is not aware of any waivers being granted to permit a transgender person to serve.

 

In addition to medical regulations, conduct regulations can affect transgender service members. For example, cross-dressing and/or violating the binary male-female uniform system can result in punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Cross-dressing could violate UCMJ Article 133 (Conduct unbecoming) or Article 134 (General article; “To the prejudice of good order and discipline”).

 

TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE ABROAD

 

Currently, at least 10 countries permit transgender service in some form: Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

 

Some of these countries have regulations or formal policies regarding transgender service; others consider transgender applicants and service members on a case-by-case basis.

 

ations or formal policies regarding transgender service; others consider transgender applicants and service members on a case-by-case basis.