Defense Department Announces Transgender Policies on the TDoV

Pentagon Transgender Service
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby

Today March 31, 2021, on the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced the restoration of two crucial 2016 policies specific to transgender service. Press Secretary Kirby noted that transitional policies announced previously would be continued to be used until April 30 when the amended policies will go into effect.

Starting April 30, 2021. Transgender people will be free to enlist and serve without fear of retribution or discrimination. Transgender surgeries and healthcare be covered by the Department of Defense budget. The DOD estimates that there are about 2200 transgender people serving as of today.

“Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and the Defense Department proudly recognizes transgender and gender non-conforming people and their continued struggle for equality, security, and dignity”, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

“There is no place for violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression or sex characteristics,” the press secretary said in a Pentagon news briefing today.

The DOD, along with its partners across the nation, will lead by example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTIQ people around the world, he noted. LGBTIQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning individuals.

In January, President Joe Biden issued two executive orders that impact DOD transgender individuals: EO 1398, “Preventing And Combating Discrimination On The Basis Of Gender Identity Or Sexual Orientation,” and EO 14004, “Enabling All Qualified Americans To Serve Their Country In Uniform.”

“Today, the department is announcing the publication of revised editions of these two instructions,” Kirby said. The revised policies in these instructions restore the DOD’s original 2016 policies regarding transgender service. Specifically, they prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender. They also provide a means to access into the military in one’s self-identify gender, provided all appropriate standards are met.

The editions provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition and recognition in one’s self-identify gender, and they seek to protect the privacy of all service members and to treat them with dignity and respect at all times, he said.

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