The military has issued a seven-page document to its recruiting commands on how to process transgender recruits, laying out guidelines for medical exams, gender pronouns, underwear, pregnancy tests and other issues after being ordered to accept transgender recruits on Jan 1.
The Pentagon has said it will follow federal court orders requiring the start of recruiting next month, but the Justice Department is waging a last-minute legal battle that could allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to delay accepting transgender recruits.
A ruling on the administration’s emergency request in a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court could come as early as Wednesday. It also faces court orders related to separate federal lawsuits in Maryland and Washington state.
The Pentagon has told the courts it must prepare more than 23,000 personnel, including recruiters and medical examiners, for the policy change, which was directed by the Obama administration.
Plaintiffs in a D.C. lawsuit against President Trump and his announced ban on transgender military service filed a copy of the Defense Department guidance in federal court Tuesday night, saying it contradicts the Pentagon’s claim that it will not be prepared to accept the recruits and that the Jan. 1 deadline could hurt military readiness.
“All projections and processing actions will be based on the preferred gender of the applicant,” according to the guidance issued by Capt. David Kemp, the head of U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command, dated Dec. 8. "Transgender applicants will be addressed by their preferred gender name and pronoun.”
Kemp ordered that every recruit should be treated with “dignity and respect.”
The military will require that the preferred gender of transgender applicants be verified by birth certificate, court order or passport. Any recruits who had gender reassignment surgery or treatment for the gender dysphoria medical condition must show proof they have been stable and without further health issues for 18 months.
During the enlistment process, a recruit’s chosen gender will determine a host of factors, including their room assignment, height and weight standards, orthopedic and neurological exam, underwear requirements, chaperone and bathroom assignments, Kemp ordered.
Transgender recruits who identify as male but have not had gender surgery or hormone treatment and are still physically female must have a pregnancy test. Recruits who have not undergone surgery or hormone therapy must also wear undergarments consistent with their birth gender, not preferred gender.
"For the purposes of military entrance processing, the applicant's preferred gender will be used on all forms asking for the 'sex' of the applicant," the guidance said. "For applicants who do not identify with either male or female, their birth sex will be used on all forms when asking for the 'sex' of the applicant."
The military’s determination on each recruit will be sent up to a medical plans and policy directorate at Military Entrance and Processing Command for review.
The reviews are aimed to “ensure consistency in the application of the new standard and to gather best practices and lessons learned as they pertain to this guidance” and could result in new guidance for the recruiting, though they will not delay the acceptance of qualified transgender recruits, Kemp wrote.