US Navy Grants Waiver for Trans Troop to Serve as their True Gender in Blow to Trump’s Ban
A transgender service member in the US Navy has been granted a waiver to present as the correct gender for the first time since Trump’s trans military ban became law.
Trump’s infamous ban came into force in April 2019, almost two full years after the president first announced his intention to exclude all trans people from the military.
The Navy confirmed that a trans service member has been granted a waiver in a statement provided to CNN on Friday (May 15).
“The acting secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” said spokesperson Brittany Stephens.
Stephens said the transgender service member “requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender”, including “obtaining a gender marker change… and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming”.
Transgender people have had a chequered history in the US armed forces. They were prevented from serving until 2016, when the Barack Obama administration put an end to the ban.
In July 2017, Trump announced on Twitter that he intended to ban all trans people from serving in the military.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military,” he wrote.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Trump’s ban means trans people who come out will be discharged.
The legislation was eventually enacted in April of last year – following four failed injunctions — and plunged an estimated 13,700 transgender service members into uncertainty.
Under the law, a trans person who comes out or is outed while serving in the military will be discharged, unless they agree to suppress their identity.
The Navy subsequently announced that service members would be allowed to live in their correct gender while off duty, but the US Naval Academy later said that it would bar trans students from enrolling for 2020.