Pentagon Omits Trans* People from "Human Goals Charter"

[Content Note: Transphobia.]

The Pentagon issued Monday a new declaration of its goals for human rights, and although the document affirms for the first time inclusion of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members, it omits any reference of either transgender troops or civilian workers.

The document, known as the Department of Defense Human Goals Charter, sets forth principles for the Pentagon to "create a culture of inclusion" in the U.S. armed forces — both on the military and the civilian side. Although the document sets goals for the department, it doesn't necessarily reflect a change in policy or law.

..."The defense of the nation requires a well-trained volunteer force comprised of active and reserve military members and civilian personnel," the document says. "We gain a strategic advantage through the diversity of our total force and create a culture of inclusion where individuals are drawn to serve, are valued, and actively contribute to the overall mission success."

...The charter includes sexual orientation as a category in which the military will strive to be a "model of equal opportunity." The term "sexual orientation" is also included in a section that describes ways "to provide equity in civilian employment."

But there is no reference to gender identity. Transgender people are barred from service in the military because of medical regulations, despite growing efforts among LGBT advocates to push for openly transgender service.

..."The Department considers that service members must serve in austere environments, many of which make necessary and ongoing treatments related to sex reassignment and many other conditions untenable," [Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesperson] said. "Policies on military personnel and health care regarding transgender members are intended to meet the needs of the services, which include the ability to deploy to and serve in austere environments with limited (and perhaps no) access to medical care for prolonged periods on little or no notice."
My first thought about this was to research what the rules are regarding pregnant servicemembers, whose healthcare needs presumably make "untenable" serving in "austere environments" without easy access to routine medical care. And the policies on pregnant servicemembers aren't especially clear, though pregnancy is no longer an automatic discharge, and it seems like, generally, accommodations are made for pregnant servicemembers.

(I hope those with more knowledge of current military practices can weigh in here regarding pregnancy policies.)

In any case, I strongly suspect that it would be easier than Lt. Cmdr. Christensen suggests to make reasonable accommodations for trans* servicemembers.

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