US Army Explains How to Respond When a Soldier Questions Showering With ‘a Female Who Has Male Genitalia’

By Published on January 11, 2023

The U.S. Army has prepared extensive guidance for how to integrate transgender soldiers into its ranks, including instructions for group showers and how to respond to pregnant men, newly revealed training documents show.

President Joe Biden restored an Obama-era directive codifying service for many transgender individuals shortly after taking office in 2021 amid competing judgments about the influence of gender-related psychological issues and medical procedures on a person’s fitness for service. While the number of transgender individuals currently serving is likely small, the training materials, dated August 2021, imagine a variety of problems officers and soldiers might encounter related to transgender members.

One slide in the “Tier Two” training materials addresses how an officer should respond when a soldier approaches “to discuss his newly confirmed pregnancy.” The training materials, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, come in three versions, with Tier One aimed at staff, Tier Two focused on commanders and Tier Three directed at individual units and soldiers.

“Understand that Soldiers who have transitioned gender may remain susceptible to medical conditions associated with their birth gender,” the materials advise.

Soldiers have to accept living conditions with little or no privacy, including in open-bay showers, where women might find themselves bathing alongside “a female who has male genitalia” or vice versa.

“Soldiers must accept living conditions that are often austere, primitive and characterized by little or no privacy,” the slide reads. Commanders can install new privacy features or adjust showering schedules, but no transgender-only spaces are permitted, according to the guidance.

While the Army will pay for a transgender soldier’s gender transition surgery, it won’t provide additional funding to add curtains or shower hooks inside stalls, according to materials labeled “special staff training.”

“Transgender soldiers are not expected to modify or adjust their behavior based on the fact that they do not ‘match’ other soldiers,” one slide in the Tier Three training packet reads. Transgender soldiers will be held to the same standards as others in their claimed gender and will be discharged if medical conditions “related to their gender identity” impede their ability to serve.

In another “vignette,” as the guidance calls them, officers are presented with a scenario involving a soldier transitioning to become female and who is on an Army-prescribed medical plan that includes hormone treatments and is expected to take six months.

“After five months, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for the soldier to meet male body composition standards,” the slide reads. The solution: Commanders are authorized to push back the soldier’s test date or give the soldier extended leave.

The soldier’s medical regime and inability to meet gender-based physical requirements “should be treated as any other medical issues would be treated,” the slide states. “The soldier is responsible to continue to meet all male standards until the gender marker is changed in DEERS,” the personnel records system.

Soldiers are permitted to request an exception to policy and adopt alternative fitness standards to those associated with their official pre-transition gender, the slides say.

Still another vignette describes how a soldier “assigned male at birth” and diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a disqualifying condition under the Trump administration, might have his “medically necessary” gender reassignment surgery disrupted by his deployment schedule.

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Brigade commanders have the authority to decide whether a soldier’s gender transition surgery can be delayed until after a deployment or confine the soldier to domestic roles when the soldier would ordinarily deploy, “after balancing the needs of the Soldier and the needs of the army.”

“A transgender Soldier whose ability to serve is adversely affected by a medical condition related to his or her gender identity must be treated, for purposes of separation and retention, in a manner consistent with any other Soldier whose ability to serve is similarly affected,” another slide says, addressing a scenario where a soldier encounters complications from taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery.

“Medical complications from cross-sex hormones and surgery are very common,” Joseph Burgo, a clinical psychologist and adviser to gender advocacy organization Genspect, explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

There is no clear data on the number of transgender people currently serving, but a 2016 RAND study pegged the total at between 1,320 and 6,630 active duty servicemembers in the military. A panel of experts commissioned by the Trump administration found that allowing transgender individuals with or without a history of gender dysphoria to serve as their preferred sex could undermine readiness and provoke division, according to a 2019 memo, while RAND argued the health care and readiness impacts would be minimal.

“It is very much a gender affirmative policy in that it accepts at face value a person’s declared gender identity without question,” Burgo said, referring to the Army’s transgender rules.

The Army did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment. The Department of Defense referred the DCNF to the Army.


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