USA TODAY US Edition
Soldiers will get transgender troop training
Sessions aim to help personnel accept transgender troops
The Army has begun compulsory transgender sensitivity training for soldiers and civilians as the Pentagon makes halting progress establishing policies to accept transgender troops.
The Army held sessions Tuesday — compulsory for all officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians who work with soldiers — to help them implement military policy on transgender troops and to “assist soldiers who have a medical diagnosis indicating that gender transition is medically necessary through the gender transition process.”
The training sessions spring from the decision last year by then-Defense secretary Ash Carter to rescind the military’s ban on transgender troops. Carter’s move allowed transgender troops in uniform to continue to serve, but it gave the services one year to implement policies for recruiting transgender enlisted troops and commissioning officers.
“The training module specifically outlines key roles and responsibilities of commanders, transgender soldiers, military medical providers and administrative management organizations,” Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson, an Army spokeswoman said in an email. “This training is mandatory for all uniformed members, as well as Department of the Army civilians.”
The 50-minute session is a “lesson that will assist soldiers in understanding Army policy for the military service of transgender soldiers so that they can im- plement the policy while maintaining morale, readiness, and good order and discipline” and to train those in their command on the policy.
Last week, USA TODAY reported that the Army and Marine Corps has asked the Pentagon for delays in accepting new, transgender troops. Under Carter’s plan, the services had until July 1 to establish recruiting policies. The Army now says it needs two more years, and the Marines one year to analyze the impact of accepting them and concerns about their availability to deploy while receiving medical treatment.
Their requests for delays followed a May 31 memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work to the services calling for an update on their plans accepting transgender troops. Work instructed leaders of the armed services that Pentagon leadership didn’t intend to reconsider the Obama administration-era policies unless they could “cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
The lack of a policy on accepting new transgender troops has caused problems for the services. Last month, graduates from the Air Force and Army’s service academies could not be commissioned because the services had not set standards for acceptance.
There are an estimated 6,000 transgender troops among the Pentagon’s 1.3 million-member active-duty force, according to a 2016 study by the RAND Corp.
The training sessions spring from the decision last year by Defense Secretary Ash Carter to rescind the military’s ban on transgender troops.