Starting in 2020, the U.S. Naval Academy will stop accepting transgender students in accordance with a recently implemented policy that bans transgender individuals from serving in the military.
According to the Capital Gazette, students who enrolled in 2019 will continue to be covered by an Obama-era policy that lifted previous restrictions, allowing transgender people to serve openly and receive coverage for gender-affirmation surgery. But those applying for the next academic year will be subjected to a policy formulated by former Defense Secretary James Mattis in 2018, which bans transgender people from the military unless they are willing to serve under the gender assigned at their birth.
Those not willing to conform to the new policy, or who are undergoing hormone or gender-affirmation treatments, will be disqualified or discharged from their positions, the Advocate reports. The policy also bans future applicants who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which the American Psychiatric Association defines as “a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify” — unless their doctor says they have exhibited three years of “stability in his/her biological sex immediately before applying to serve,” the Associated Press reports.
The AP also notes that the new order allows “service secretaries to waive the policy on a case-by-case basis.” Yet an estimated 13,700 trans service members out of the approximately 15,000 who are currently serving are expected to be disqualified under the new rules.
Six personnel are currently suing the Trump administration as a result of the ban, reports the Gazette. And activists have expressed their dismay over the new policy.
“The start of this looming purge represents an unprecedented step backward in the social and civil progress of our country and our military,” Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “This is the first time in American history such a step forward has been reversed, and it is a severe blow to the military and to the nation’s values.”
Read more at the Advocate.