Transgender Cadets Can Graduate From Military Academies—But They Still Can’t Enlist

You're (not) in the Army now. Dan Avery, NewNowNext

More than ten months after the U.S. military lifted its ban on trans service members, two transgender cadets are still not able to service in the Armed Forces.


USA Today reports the two cadets, one graduating from the Air Force Academy and one from West Point, will be allowed to graduate this month after their passing exams.

But they will not be able to formally enlist because the Pentagon has yet to establish standard procedures for accepting new transgender troops in its ranks.

After then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter rescinded the Pentagon’s ban in July 2016, existing trans service members were able to begin to serve openly. But a plan for accepting new troops is still being developed.

Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith confirmed the branch had a transgender cadet, “however, per the current Department of Defense medical accessions policy, this cadet cannot commission.” In addition, the academy at West Point will not recognize the cadet’s accurate gender identity when they graduate, but instead their gender assigned at birth.

Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, meanwhile, said the branch’s Colorado Springs academy is “strongly recommending this individual for Air Force civil service as an option for continued service after the academy.”

Under Carter’s direction, transgender recruits and officer candidates were required to be certified by a doctor as stable in their gender identity for 18 months before enlisting. It’s unclear how current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will address the situation.

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