Metro Weekly

First openly transgender recruit has enlisted in the military

An Illinois soldier has met all the necessary requirements to enlist, though his or her identity remains secret

U.S. soldiers completing a military exercise – Photo: Spc. Marcus Floyd, via Wikimedia.

In a historic first, an openly transgender recruit has met the requirements necessary to enlist in the U.S. military, reports the Military Times.

The recruit, from Illinois, has not been identified by gender or service. They reportedly passed both the physical and medical exams to gain entry, and signed a military service contract, the Department of Defense reports.

Several other transgender individuals have inquired about enlisting, including at least eight prospective Air Force recruits.

Under the policy currently in place, which was put into place by former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, transgender recruits must pass all their physical and mental health screenings, and have been stable in their identified gender for at least 18 months, as confirmed by a medical professional, before enlisting.

The status of currently serving transgender troops and prospective recruits remains uncertain going forward, as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to issue final guidance in the coming weeks. Mattis was scheduled to present his recommendations for allowing transgender people to serve openly to the White House this past week. 

While sources close to the Pentagon have speculated that Mattis will recommend allowing transgender troops to continue serving, so long as their gender dysphoria does not affect their ability to deploy at a moment’s notice, the Trump administration has continued to push for a ban on all transgender military personnel.

An informal poll by Military Times last year found that a majority of readers supported Trump’s proposed ban on transgender individuals serving “in any capacity” in the military.

But Trump’s proposed ban has also sparked a number of lawsuits by current military members, LGBTQ advocates and transgender recruits who wish to enlist. Thus far, six separate courts have issued orders to stop the Pentagon from implementing any ban until all those lawsuits have been resolved.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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