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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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Army Spc. Clayton James Horne died in Saudi Arabia on Aug. 17, making him the eighth non-combat fatality for Operation Inherent Resolve so far this year, defense officials have announced.
Horne, 23, was assigned to the 351st Military Police Company, 160th Military Police Battalion, an Army Reserve unit based in Ocala, Florida, a Pentagon news release says.
The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).
It's been more than a week since a mysterious Russian nuclear accident roughly 600 miles north of Moscow and only the Kremlin and those killed know what happened.
What is known is something exploded on Aug. 8 at a naval weapons testing range near the village of Nyonoksa. The Russian government's official account of the accident has changed several times since then, but the country's weather agency recently confirmed that radiation levels jumped to 16 times greater than normal after the blast.
U.S. media outlets have reported that a nuclear-powered cruise missile named the SSX-C-9 Skyfall likely exploded during testing. President Donald Trump appeared to confirm as much when he tweeted on Aug. 12 that the United States had gleaned useful information from "the failed missile explosion in Russia."
Top officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs declined to step in to try to exempt veterans and their families from a new immigration rule that would make it far easier to deny green cards to low-income immigrants, according to documents obtained by ProPublica under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Department of Defense, on the other hand, worked throughout 2018 to minimize the new policy's impact on military families.
As a result, the regulation, which goes into effect in October, applies just as strictly to veterans and their families as it does to the broader public, while active-duty members of the military and reserve forces face a relaxed version of the rule.
Watch the US fire off its first previously-banned missile since the collapse of the INF Treaty with Russia
The U.S. military conducted its first flight test of a conventional ground-launched cruise missile in a test that would have been banned prior to the recent collapse of a Cold War-era nuclear arms agreement.
The missile was launched on Sunday from a testing site on San Nicolas Island in California. "The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight," the Pentagon explained in an emailed statement, adding that "data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities."