Screenshot/Courage to Resist
The Army has begun compulsory transgender sensitivity training for all officers, non-commissioned officers, and civilians who work with soldiers.
The 50-minute training session is part of an effort to implement a 2016 decision by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lift the military's ban on transgender troops.
“The training module specifically outlines key roles and responsibilities of commanders, transgender soldiers, military medical providers and administrative management organizations,” Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson wrote in an email, as reported by USA Today.
The goal is to “assist soldiers who have a medical diagnosis indicating that gender transition is medically necessary through the gender transition process.”
The Army has been planning the training for several months to meet the July 1 deadline, but at the same time, there have been requests submitted to the Pentagon by the Army and the Marine Corps for delays of two additional years and one year, respectively.
These requests came after a May 31 memo in which Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work indicated that the Pentagon would not reevaluate last year's decision unless it could “cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
Conservative leaders have raised such concerns, arguing that military readiness should trump “transgender politics” and politically correct policies.
But Aaron Belkin, executive of the Palm Center, a nonprofit that advocates for transgender troops, maintains that inclusivity promotes readiness. The military is balking at requests for delays, he claims, because “all policies and guidelines have already been completed” and “nothing else needs to be done to lift the ban aside from simply lifting the ban.”
There are approximately six thousand transgender troops among the 1.3 million-member active-duty force, according to a study last year by the RAND Corp.