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Navy Prepares To Join Other Services In Making It Harder To Remove The Transgendered

The Navy is looking to copy Air Force and Army policy by making it much more difficult to discharge transgendered sailors.

As soon as a servicemember is discovered to be transgendered, all it takes is the authority of a commanding officer to recommend discharge, but an anonymous Navy official stated that the authority will soon rest with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Washington Examiner reports.

While it’s still the case that sailors diagnosed with gender dysphoria are recommended for discharge, the idea is to make the procedure much more difficult, which is likely a stopgap measure. At this point in time, support for meritocracy as the sole criterion for service is at record highs.

“The Navy is looking to elevate the administrative separation authority for transgendered personnel to ensure that this important issue receives the right level of review,” Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Ed Early told the Washington Examiner.

The proposed change comes during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride month. Earlier on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter granted equal opportunity protection to gay and lesbian servicemembers, meaning they can file discrimination claims. He also suggested the ban on open transgender members serving in the military is disastrous for national security, since it might reject well-qualified troops. The military, after all, is a meritocracy, Carter argued. (RELATED: SecDef: Gays And Lesbians In Military Can Now File Claims Of Discrimination)

In March, Master Chief Petty Officer Mike Stevens hinted at support for transgendered sailors serving openly, though he avoided explicitly calling for an end to the ban. “So if they’re physically, mentally and morally qualified, anybody who meets those criteria has an opportunity to serve their country,” Stevens told Navy Times.

One of the main concerns still remaining is whether increased medical care, including surgery and other forms of hormone therapy, would complicate deployment. Officials in the military are currently conducting a 12 to 18 month review of health policy, and part of that review will consider lifting the ban.

Last week, the Air Force decided to push authority for discharge up the chain of command to the Air Force Review Boards Agency.

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