As required by recent federal district court orders, the Department of Defense recently announced it will begin processing transgender applicants for military service on January 1, 2018. This policy will be implemented while the Department of Justice appeals those court orders.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered DoD to implement, effective January 1, 2018, the accession policy issued by former Secretary Carter in 2016. DoD and the Department of Justice are actively pursuing relief from those court orders in order to allow an ongoing policy review scheduled to be completed before the end of March.
Under the 2016 Carter policy, a history of gender dysphoria is disqualifying unless, as certified by a licensed medical provider, the applicant has been stable without clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning for 18 months. Additionally, a history of medical treatment associated with gender transition is disqualifying unless, as certified by a licensed medical provider, the applicant has completed all medical treatment associated with the applicant’s gender transition, the applicant has been stable in the preferred gender for 18 months, and if presently receiving cross-sex hormone therapy post-gender transition, the individual has been stable on such hormones for 18 months.
Guidance also includes specific details for recruits with a history of sex reassignment or genital reconstruction surgery. Under the updated standards, these procedures would be disqualifying unless, as certified by a licensed medical provider, a period of 18 months has elapsed since the date of the most recent surgery, no functional limitations or complications persist, and no additional surgeries are required.