According to a story in USA Today, a new Army policy makes removing trans troops more difficult. The decision to remove trans people must now be made by a top civilian official — the assistant secretary of the Army for personnel.
When trans people in the military are identified, they are usually given an automatic medical discharge.
According to the Palm Center, which has done research on sexual minorities in the military, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James came out in favor of a change in policy in December.
“From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve,” James said.
In another small change of policy, the Army agreed to allow Chelsea Manning to begin hormone therapy. Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for divulging national security secrets to WikiLeaks.
The current change in discharge policy is similar to a change that happened under “don’t ask, don’t tell” that was supposed to slow the discharge of gays and lesbians and require more proof. Discharges by top-level personnel, however, continued at a rapid pace until the law was finally repealed.