A new handbook has been issued by the Pentagon to help service members and commanders deal with situations involving transgender troops.
The handbook was issued in order to “assist” trans service members, as well as commanders, reports the Hill.
It comes as the US earlier this year lifted its ban on trans military service members serving openly. The US Military in June lifted its ban on transgender troops serving openly.
The handbook, published in party by the Hill, reads: “The handbook is designed to assist our transgender service members in their gender transition, help commanders with their duties and responsibilities, and help all service members understand new policies enabling the open service of transgender service members.”
From the date the new policy began in June, allowing trans troops to serve openly, included a 90-day grace period before which the military would not cover medical care for such troops.
This was apparently in order to allow the Pentagon time to write the handbook.
Th grace period ended on Saturday, and the handbook reads that trans members can begin to transition when a military medical official diagnoses gender dysphoria.
The handbook lays out that there are no separate military standards for trans people and that they must meet the standards set for their gender identity.
But commanders may be able to make exceptions, the book reads, stating: “Individuals undergoing cross-sex hormone therapy may experience changes to their body shape and physical strength, which may have a notable effect on their ability to maintain standards.”
“If that is the case, consult with the individual and the [military medical provider] as you would for any other service member with a medical condition affecting their ability to meet physical fitness standards.”
In order to begin transition, the member must have a birth certificate, court order or valid US passport for their gender identity.
The handbook lays out that commanders may provide “reasonable accommodations” for trans tropps to provide privacy especially in showers or bathrooms.
Shower curtains are one example of how commanders can provide privacy to transgender troops, as well as changing timings of showers or bathroom use.
Any changes to provide privacy “should be done with the intent of avoiding any stigmatising impact to any service member,” the handbook warns.
“The cornerstone of [Department of Defense] values is treating every Service member with dignity and respect,” the guidebook says.
“Anyone who wants to serve their country, upholds our values, and can meet our standards, should be given the opportunity to compete to do so.”