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Navy will allow off-duty sailors to 'live socially' according to their preferred gender, but not on duty
For transgender people in the U.S. military, April is shaping up to be a bittersweet month. But mostly bitter.
Just a few days before the implementation of President Trump's ban on transgender troops, a clarification from the Navy on the dress code of sailors could be perceived as a consolation prize, but it might feel like a slap in the face.
In a recently released administrative message, Navy officials said that sailors were free to "live socially" in their preferred gender while not on duty. They do, however, still need to conform to the standards associated with their biological gender while in uniform.
The clarification comes nearly a month after a memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist introduced the current version of the Trump ban: Individuals have to serve in their birth gender, and transgender personnel are banned from transitioning to their self-identified gender.
It is unclear how the announcement of the Navy's "don't ask just dress" policy will improve the lives of transgender individuals who are currently serving, or who want to serve in the Navy.
Bree Fram, communications director at the LGBTQ military advocacy group SPART*A, saw the move as a positive step. Speaking to NBC News, Fram said that the organization is "thrilled," and that the Navy is giving sailors the liberty to be who they are. "The Navy is taking care of its transgender service members by giving them the option to dress and express themselves as they choose."
But with the ban, which goes in effect Friday, transgender individuals who haven't been "grandfathered in" are effectively barred from serving, even with the Pentagon's continual refusal to call it a ban.
When speaking to the Daily News about the ban, Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project said the Trump administration is "essentially saying that, in court and publicly, that 'oh, it's not a ban because as long as [transgender people] have never had any medical treatment, as long as they've never taken a step to transition, [they] can serve as long as they do so in their assigned sex.'" he said. However, "that literally defines a trans person."
The new guidelines will, technically, let sailors live as who they are — just as long as they do it during selected hours. The Navy announcement reminds sailors that "there is no policy that prohibits the ability of a service member to express themselves off-duty in their preferred gender," officials wrote. "Appropriate civilian attire, as outlined in the uniform regulations, will not be determined based on gender."
In practice, it asks people to act as if they were of a different gender, simply by putting on an uniform.
"Gender is a fundamental aspect of a person's identity," Shannon Minter, the director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director told NBC News. "It cannot be turned on and off like a switch, and the very notion of requiring a non-transgender person to do so would be immediately recognized as cruel and unworkable. It is equally cruel and unworkable for transgender people."
©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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Supreme Court to consider whether military personnel can be prosecuted for rape long after the crime occurred
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether military personnel can be prosecuted for rape long after the crime occurred in an appeal by President Donald Trump's administration of a lower court ruling that overturned the rape conviction of an Air Force captain.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
U.S. military officials may have abandoned their dreams of powered armor straight out of Starship Troopers, but the futuristic components of America's first prototype combat exoskeleton could eventually end up in the arsenals of both U.S. special operations forces and conventional troops.