Military in Motion: LGBTQ Soldiers May Be Allowed to Transfer From States That Don't Affirm Their Identities

AP Photo/Chris Seward

For those with a gender identity, the Army’s open arms may soon widen.

America’s fighting forces were once hard-nosed. But these days, they’d like to be known for something softer.

Hence, as reported by Military.com, the U.S. Army is eyeing an administrative alteration to decimate discrimination:

The Army is circulating a draft policy tweak that would specify that soldiers can request to move if they feel state or local laws discriminate against them…

One area of prejudice purportedly pummeled by the potential policy: “gender.”

Per the outlet, such change could “be one of the most progressive policies for the force amid a growing wave of local anti-LGBTQ…laws in conservative-leaning states, where the Army does most of its business.”

The policy would ostensibly sanction soldiers to declare that certain states are too racist, too homophobic, too sexist or otherwise discriminatory to be able to live there safely and comfortably.

Another reason for transfer: pregnancy.

The updated guidance, which sources said was drafted in response to several state laws but before a draft of a potential Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, would instruct commanders that they can use compassionate reassignment specifically to remove troops facing discrimination from their duty stations.

As for obstetrics:

It’s unclear whether the Army’s inclusion of pregnancy on the list would protect reproductive care for soldiers if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Concerning soldiers wrangled beneath the Rainbow umbrella, here are some stats:

According to a 2015 study from Rand Corp., roughly 6% of the military is gay or bisexual and 1% is transgender or nonbinary. Those number are likely low, given that the survey was conducted only four years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and before transgender troops could serve openly. Gen Z troops, the latest generation starting to fill the ranks, are also much more likely to identify as LGBTQ.

In the past year or so, American military branches have undeniably evolved:

Military Generals Call for Increased Diversity, Encourage More Women in Combat

Report: Navy Says Sailors Can Use Whichever Locker Room Suits Their Gender Identity

Report: US Army Mandates Training to Help Soldiers Shake off Their Sex ‘Assigned at Birth’

Air Force Forms ‘LGBTQ’ and ‘Indigenous Nations Equality’ Focus Groups

Nevada Air Force Base Hosts Drag Show

And of course, there was this:

The Armed Forces are really trying to change their image. So far as I can tell, mission accomplished:

Back to LGBT stationing: The Few, The Proud might not be the only branch upping its promotion of Pride.

Multiple Defense Department and veterans advocate sources have told Military.com the other services are considering similar policies, but it is unclear how far those discussions have advanced.

The closest to a direct challenge from a service to the rise of potentially discriminatory policies coming out of state legislatures occurred in April, when the Air and Space Force vowed to provide medical and legal resources to troops who are impacted by laws “being proposed and passed in states across America that may affect LGBTQ Airmen, Guardians, and/or their LGBTQ dependents in different ways,” according to a press release from those services.

States across the country are addressing issues of sex and gender identity. Recently, we’ve seen Florida’s Parental Rights bill as well as various legislation banning males from female sports.

Speaking to Military.com, Jacob Thomas — communications director for “progressive veterans” group Common Defense — talked weaponry amid the war:

“What we’re seeing across the board is a small group of elected officials who are trying to politicize and weaponize LGBTQ identities in despicable ways. They’re not only doing that to our youth, but the collateral damage is hurting our service members. [Troops] can’t be forced to live in places where they aren’t seen as fully human.”

It’s a new day. From schools to businesses to the military, gone is the era of subordination. In the past, those above told you how it was. Anymore, there’s unprecedented Power to the People. That includes birthing people, the nonbinary, and those whose neo-pronouns allow them to Be All That Bunself Can Be.

Even so, here’s a question: What will enlistees do when they’re sent to other countries whose laws are even less affirming than America’s?

The situation might call for near-courage under fire.

-ALEX

 

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