A “handbook” for transgender military service members and their immediate commanders has been released by the Department of Defense and the recommendations in the book are somewhat disturbing.
The handbook starts by defining terms such as gender dysphoria, which is a mental condition for individuals who feel their sex and gender don’t match. It then states that all people have a right to “have their gender identity recognized and respected, and all Service members who receive a diagnosis that gender transition is medically necessary will be provided with support and management to transition, within the bounds of military readiness.
The handbook also advises a solder, sailor or airman first to communicate their intent with their unit either by letter or in person, keeping in mind the consequences that “such a decision might have on his or her career,” The Weekly Standard reports.
One of the most interesting things though is dealing with the sharing of shower facilities.
The handbook lists several scenarios for commanders and service members to visualize and what to do about them. Scenario 11 is about using shower facilities:
A transgender Service member has expressed privacy concerns regarding the open bay shower configuration. Similarly, several other non-transgender Service members have expressed discomfort when showering in these facilities with individuals who have different genitalia.
In response t this, the service member in question is only given the option to alter their shower hours.
But the commanders’ recommendations include altering everyone else’s showering hours to accommodate the transgendered service member.
Interestingly enough, the handbook tells trans service member that their physical readiness test will be required after their transition. There are slight different levels of rigor for both men and women. So far, there is no standard psychological assessment of fitness for transgender service members, the pentagon admits.
As it currently stands, the who thing surrounding medical and surgical procedures are currently available to trans service members – from counseling to hormone therapy to surgery, Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon said.
Leading up to Carter’s initial announcement, military lawmakers on Capitol Hill had been questioning the Pentagon’s priorities. Nearly a year prior to Secretary Carter’s announcement, the House Armed Services Committee requested response to a list of 15 questions concerning what consequences such a measure might have on discrimination policies, among other things.
The committee’s letter asked, “What, if any, additional non-discrimination measure would be required if the transgender service policy is changed? What training would be required for all service members? What implementation challenges would there be? What measures would be required to overcome these challenges?”