It is implied that applicants would have to have been successful in petitioning their state to legally recognize their gender identity before the military will, as the memo directs that personnel entering personal information to use the recruits’ birth certificate, U.S. passport, or a court order reflecting their “preferred gender”.
This presents a problem, as according to Lambda Legal – an LGBT Legal Organization – there are 29 states that require surgery before amending a birth certificate with the correct gender marker. Furthermore, there are an additional 4 states – Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee – that will not re-issue or amend a birth certificate regardless of surgical status.
For recruits with the legal paperwork, the Military will enlist them as their preferred gender, with their gender identity replacing sex on all forms. “Room assignment, height/weight standards, ortho-neuro exam, specimen observation, underwear requirements, chaperone and bathroom assignments will be made based on the applicant’s preferred gender,” the memo states.
The memo adds that recruits who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy will be issued “undergarments consistent with their physical anatomy” and will be given an entry exam consistent with their “anatomical characteristics”.
This means transgender men who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy will need to wear female undergarments and take an entry exam specific to female anatomy. Contrarily, transgender women who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy will need to wear male undergarments and take an entry exam specific to male anatomy.
Recruits who have undergone gender reassignment surgery will be enlisted so long as doctors consider them to be stable in their new gender, having experienced no complications and requiring no additional surgeries for at least 18 months.
The memo does not state how the Pentagon intends to handle transgender applicants who have not had gender reassignment surgery while also being from the 29 states which require it to legally change their gender.
Applicants who do not identify as either gender, the military will use their birth sex.
This memo is released ahead of court-order deadline of January 1st for the military to enlist transgender troops. The Trump administration has been arguing that the systems cannot be put in place to accept transgender applicants by January 1st. Many attorneys and advocates say this memo directly rejects that notion.