From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

The Secretary of Defense announced June 30, 2016, that transgender service members could serve openly in the military. As such, no service member may be involuntarily separated, discharged, denied reenlistment or continuation of service solely on the basis of gender identity or an expressed intent to transition gender. To remain the finest seagoing fighting force the world has ever known, the Navy needs men and women who are the right fit for the right job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed or gender identity. Our goal is to ensure that the mission is carried out by the most qualified and capable service members. If an individual can meet the Navy’s standards, they should be afforded the opportunity to serve.

Nov. 7, 2016, the Secretary of the Navy published guidance on the Department of the Navy’s transgender policy in SECNAVINST 1000.11. Following the release of the SECNAVINST, the Navy announced its interim guidance for service of transgender personnel.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Navy’s policy changes reflected in NAVADMIN 248/16.

1. There are several key milestone dates for Sailors to know:

  • commanding officer’s toolkit As of Oct. 1, transgender Sailors could begin the process to officially change their gender in our personnel administrative systems in accordance with DoD and service policy.
  • U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) will begin transgender training for Sailors starting in November. Commands will be provided DVDs, training materials, a facilitation guide, a commanding officer’s toolkit, along with the DoD handbook on transgender service to help Sailors understand gender transitions. For units in remote training areas that may not have access to the face-to-face training, there will be webinars for triads to ask questions prior to delivering training to their commands. Training should be complete for all active duty Sailors no later than Jan. 31, 2017, and by April 30, 2017, for reserve Sailors.
  • By July 1, 2017, transgender applicants who meet updated accessions standards may be accessed into the U.S Armed Services.

2. In order for Sailors currently serving to transition genders, they must first receive a diagnosis from a military medical provider (MMP) indicating that gender transition is medically necessary and develop a transition plan, approved by their commanding officer. During the transition process, service members shall comply with all standards of the gender marker currently in Navy personnel administrative systems/DEERS.

3. Transition medical treatment differs for each individual and may include any and all of the following: behavioral health counseling, cross-sex hormone therapy, surgery and real-life experience.

4. A Sailor’s transition is complete when the Sailor’s military medical provider reports to the Sailor’s commanding officer that they have completed all care necessary to achieve medical stability as outlined in the medical treatment plan, and the service member obtains appropriate legal change documents. The individual’s commanding officer will then provide written permission to change the gender marker in personnel administrative system/DEERS, and the Sailor will submit the documentation in accordance with MILPERSMAN 1000-131.

5. The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine is studying the effects of medical treatments associated with gender transition on members of the aviation and diving communities, and as a result, Sailors will be restricted from flying and diving operations during medical treatment. There may also be impacts to serving in the Personnel Reliability Program (individuals who have access to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons). Sailors should consult with the MMP regarding their personal situation.

6. Personal privacy is a concern for all service members. Sailors accept living and working conditions that are often austere and characterized by close quarters with little or no privacy. Consistent with current policy, commanding officers retain discretion to alter berthing or billeting assignments to maintain morale and good order and discipline when consistent with mission accomplishment in accordance with Navy policy. However, the creation of separate head and shower facilities or living quarters for transgender personnel is prohibited.

7. The Navy has identified several of its policies that require change to include:

  • Modesty policies are being implemented to allow for increased privacy in berthing, shower and head facilities.
  • There will be adjustment to the language in the urinalysis program, and adding gender identity to the military equal opportunity policy.
  • After careful review of the physical readiness program, it was determined that no change was needed to the current policy and that standards remain the same for all Sailors.
  • Standards of personal and professional conduct have not changed.
  • There continues to be a zero tolerance for harassment and hazing. It is the responsibility of all to promote dignity and equality of all personnel, and prevent discrimination and harassment of any kind.

8. All DoD and Navy policies regarding accessing and retaining transgender personnel are applicable to both active duty and reserve Sailors. Reserve Sailors may have periods of unavailability during transition.

9. This policy only applies to Navy military personnel. Questions on Department of the Navy (DON) transgender civilian personnel shall be referred to the DON Office of Civilian Human Resources and/or the DON Office of the General Counsel, and questions on transgender civilian contractors serving with the Navy should be referred to the contracting officer’s representative.

10. Navy Transgender Service Central Coordination Cell (SCCC) was established June 30, following the announcement by Secretary of Defense Carter to provide multi-disciplinary (e.g. medical, legal) expert advice to Sailors in the execution of the DoD and Navy policies and procedures regarding service by transgender service members and the execution of gender transition in the military. Individuals are encouraged to work with their chain of command prior to contacting the SCCC. To help answer Sailors’ questions, to talk to someone, or to leave a message, please dial: 1-855-628-9311 (1-855-NAVY-9311). Sailors will need to press “0” and follow a series of prompts, or they can email: Navy311@navy.mil.