US: 'Nothing short of a ban': Transgender troops, advocates react to new military policy

Staff Sgt. Patricia King is the first openly transgender infantry soldier as well as the first enlisted female infantry soldier in U.S. military history. And after 19 years serving her country, she is angry.

“This is the defense of the indefensible,” she said of the Defense Department’s March 12 memo outlining a new policy regarding transgender military service.

The policy allows currently serving transgender troops and service members who have already received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria to continue to serve in their preferred gender. But after April 12, when the policy goes into effect, no one with gender dysphoria who is taking hormones or has transitioned will be allowed to enlist.

Further, any currently serving troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria after April 12 will have to serve in their sex as assigned at birth and will be barred from taking hormones or getting gender-affirming surgery.

According to the Defense Department, the policy is not a ban on transgender service. “Transgender individuals are not excluded from military service, and DOD policy specifically prohibits discrimination based on gender identity,” the DOD website states. “But all persons, whether or not they are transgender, must meet all military standards, including the standards associated with their biological sex. Waivers or exceptions to these standards may be granted on a case-by-case basis.” Read more via NBC