Pentagon memo details process for accepting transgender recruits

Pentagon memo details process for accepting transgender recruits
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The Pentagon has issued a memo on how to start accepting transgender recruits into the military on Jan. 1, as courts have ordered.

The memo outlines such specific details as what legal documents will be accepted to prove gender identity, what undergarments transgender people will be allowed to wear and whether they will have to undergo pregnancy tests.

“As always, every applicant will be treated with dignity and respect,” said the memo dated Dec. 8 and written by Capt. David Kemp, the head of U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command.

The memo was included in a court filing Tuesday night by opponents of President Trump’s ban on transgender people enlisting in the military.

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The Pentagon is set to begin accepting transgender recruits into the military on Jan. 1. The move comes after court orders blocking Trump’s ban said the department must adhere to the plan to accept recruits by the date that was in place prior to the ban.

The Pentagon has said it will follow the court orders as administration lawyers appeal.

According to the memo, transgender applicants will have to present a copy of their birth certificate, passport or court order reflecting their “preferred gender.”

“Room assignment, height/weight standards, ortho-neuro exam, specimen observation, underwear requirements, chaperone and bathroom assignments will be made based on the applicant's preferred gender,” the memo said.

But transgender men who have not had surgery or hormone therapy will need to wear female undergarments, take a pregnancy test and have the medical exam specific to female anatomical characteristics, the memo added.

Similarly, according to the memo, transgender women who have not had surgery or hormone therapy will need to wear male undergarments, will not take a pregnancy test and will take the medical exam specific to male anatomical characteristics.

Applicants who do not identify as either gender will be designated by their birth gender, the memo said.

As previously announced, transgender applicants have to be stable in their gender for 18 months before being allowed to join the military.

Opponents of the transgender ban fighting the administration’s appeal filed the memo in court as evidence the Pentagon is prepared to accept transgender recruits, contrary to administration lawyers’ arguments.

“On December 8, 2017—prior to the district court’s denial of a stay and prior to the government’s stay motion before this Court—the Department of Defense issued interim policy guidance for processing transgender applicants for military service beginning on January 1, 2018,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in Tuesday’s filing.

“It indicates neither that the military will be unprepared to begin accession on January 1, nor that implementation is contingent on the outcome of pending litigation.”

But the administration argued the memo shows the Pentagon is “scrambling” to comply with the court. It cited as evidence a memo dated Dec. 19 clarifying the earlier memo.

“All that this memorandum shows is that the military is scrambling to comply with the injunction,” administration lawyers wrote in a court filing Wednesday. “Memorandum 2-5 is an effort to furnish some guidance, but it is no substitute for the training necessary to ensure that the [former Defense Secretary Ash] Carter policy is implemented properly.”