In June, the Dept. of Defense reversed its ban on transgender troops serving openly. Both the Navy and Marines will begin admitting transgender applicants who meet all service standards no later than July 1, 2017, a Navy-wide message published in early August said.
This month, the Marine Corps became the last service to release a policy governing transgender troops, Military.com reported. A Marine Corps bulletin, which included the six-page policy, was released Nov 22, but reportedly left a lot of unanswered questions.
Pentagon officials admit this is all new to them. “We’re breaking ground…for all of DoD, not just the Marine Corps, everyone’s blazing a trail on this,” said Maj. Garron Garn. One thing that is certain, however, is that “the decision has been made and the Marines will execute.”
While the service is not releasing any specific numbers on transition requests, the Corps has said it’s received a “small number of requests” from transgender recruits to begin the transition process.
The policy states that the service “reserves the right to separate Marines whose ability to serve is adversely affected by medical conditions or medical treatment related to their gender identity.” Another cause for separation would be a Marine’s inability to meet the height and weight or fitness standards of the gender to which he or she is transitioning. The policy states: “Transgender Marines must meet all uniform, grooming, height, weight, and physical fitness standards appropriate to their preferred gender, and must comply with the same drug testing rules.”
If medical treatment associated with gender transition interferes with training of any kind, Marines may also be separated.
It will be up to unit commanders to handle any issues that arise about how to accommodate troops concerned with privacy. The policy gives them quite a bit of room to maneuver here. Commanders will be given the option to spend money to modify base showers and bathrooms to “provide reasonable privacy.” In addition, they may also rearrange sleep and shower schedules to achieve “reasonable privacy in the accomplishment of all missions,” the policy states.
Military.com reports that the Corps will utilize mobile training teams to educate commanders at installations. The training will likely be completed by spring, Garn said, ahead of the deadline to accept transgender recruits.
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