TRANSGENDER: CHALLENGES AHEAD 9
Framework and roadmap
Review of Literature
Definition of confusing terminologies associated with transgender
Evolution of transgender phenomena
Shifts in transgender medical classification
Research themes and findings in scientific literature
Policies in the military and associated medical restrictions
Trends in policies and practices
Provisions in the military and civil service regarding employment
Case study: comparative analysis
List of References
Beforemoving on to offer a clear understanding of the word transgender,differences among the confusing words namely, sex, gender, as wellas sexual identity, will be explored. Stryker (2008) puts it that,gender is never similar as sex and his analysis confirms that the twoterms are often conflated while some researchers tend to use theminterchangeably1.The World Health Organization defines sex simply as a biological andphysiological feature that differentiates a man from a woman. In thesame way, the American Psychological Association tends to support thedefinition offered since it notes that sex is all about anindividual’s status that categorizes him or her as male, female, orintersex. In the two definitions, the word biological is a constantand it, therefore, means that the biological sex is likely to beidentified at birth2.Gender, on the other hand, is a social construction of society, whichis based on the roles assigned to the person, the general behaviours,day-to-day activities, and certain special attributes that areassociated with either men or women. In the traditional society, thewoman was expected to be a caregiver in any family setup whose majorroles were related to the home, such as cooking, looking after thechildren, and various types of cleaning. Men were supposed to be theproviders of the family and as such, they would go outside to work incompanies in order to provide for the family. However, thesetraditional views are no longer acceptable in the modern society dueto the presence of feminism groups.
Thedebate on transgender continues to elicit different opinions fromvarious categories of individuals globally and the military is not anexception because the institution is under pressure to readjust itspolicies to meet the international and national rules and regulationsregarding the rights of transgender persons. The Attorney GeneralEric Holder observed, “Ihave determined that the best reading of Title VII`s prohibition ofsex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based ongender identity, including transgender status3.”This statement followed the adjustment of the country’s laws torecognize the existence of transgender people, as well as theirculture. Transgenderindividuals are likely to experience a variation between their genderdistinctiveness or expression and their real sex4.To show how the issue is deep rooted in the military, a couple cameout publicly in a recent White House reception after receiving aninvitation of the current US President Barrack Obama. Theexpectations of one of the members were that he would perhapssuppress the idea of being a woman by joining the military, but thecase is different at present because he has ended up identifyinghimself as a woman5.The officer faces several challenges since the military expects himto operate under the male codes of conducts. The condition of thisofficer, as well as the challenges facing him serving as atransgender officer in the military has attracted the attention ofpolitical and military leaders in the country. The defence secretaryperhaps announced that the organization was in the process ofdrafting new policies to allow transgender members to servecomfortably in the force6.Some of the issues that come out strongly include the fitnessstandards of such officers, application of billeting rules, the exactdate of adherence to the new policies, and the tackling thechallenges that are likely to face the military health system. Thedefence was categorical that the military policies towardstransgender will definitely change because the current ones are animpediment to the accomplishment of the core missions. As mentionedin the proposal, the military, therefore, should be prepared forchange even though the government is faced with the daunting task ofpreserving the current military policies and satisfying the desiresof transgender individuals. Since the topic raises many questionsthan answers, it is has to be researched to uncover some of theunderlying the issues.
Howwill the inclusion and accommodation of the specific needs oftransgender members affect Air Force policy, particularlythe medical policies?
Thispaper aspires to examine the issues that transgender people gothrough, particularly medical challenges, while serving in the USmilitary.Thetransgender persons face several challenges while serving in themilitary. There is an ongoing debate on whether they should beallowed to serve openly. Therefore, this paper looks at policyimplications in case the transgender persons get their way.The report published by Palm centre titled ‘report of thetransgender military service commission’, approximated the numberof people living as transgender in the United States to beseven-hundred thousand7.The same report goes on to claim that at least fifteen-thousandmilitary members in the country are transgender, with overeight-thousand being active members of the force while others servingunder different non-active formations. Among the retirees, popularlyreferred to as veterans, over one-hundred thousand are transgender,which suggest that many people believed to be transgender are threetimes willing to serve their country as military members as comparedto other categories. The recent case in which a couple appearedpublicly in the presidential reception, presents a challenge topolicy makers, something that has forced the defence ministry torethink its stand on transgender. The question arising currently is,‘why would the military prevent transgender individuals fromserving openly in the force’? So many organizations have come toterms with the new social issue and have set up sufficient mechanismsto deal with it. In places of work, for instance, organizations haveset up facilities, including bathrooms, for transgender individuals,as it is believed this makes them comfortable.
Someargue that the discriminative nature being witnessed in the militarywhere the transgender persons are prohibited from serving publicly isjust one of the historical injustices of the US military wheremembers of the minority groups are denied their rights. Historically,the US military has been unfair to blacks, women, and homosexuals andperhaps there is no concrete reason given as why they are treateddifferently. The defining policy of the American government sinceindependence is equality meaning each person has the right to do ashe or she wishes and the state’s role is simply to provide anenabling environment for individual fulfilment. In the proposal, itwas mentioned that this has not been the case considering the livesthat transgender persons are forced to live in the military. Thecurrent overturning of events where transgender persons are beingrecognized as a social category within the population, the governmentis slowly trying to accept the situation and the aim of this paper,therefore, is to establish some of the effects of new policies ontransgender on the general policies of the air force8.
Inthis section, a number of topics that will be discussed in detail inthe paper are presented. One of them is a comparative analysis of thesituation whereby it is noted the US military seems to be laggingbehind in implementing transgender policies globally considering thefact that Australia and Canada are already working with this categoryof individuals in their militaries9.Again, transgender was often referred, in medical terms, as genderidentity disorder. However, the situation is different currentlysince even the American Psychiatric association has facilitatedrenaming and re-explanation of the phrase10.The circumstances leading to renaming of this situation will bebrought out in the paper, as well as discussing how the US militaryis responding to this new reality. The article will dig deeper intothe provisions of the military acts and the general provisions of thecivil service employment to see whether transgender individuals haveany legal rights to serve in the military. Under this section,analysis will be based on the policies of the US military and medicalrestrictions. Transgender phenomena has undergone a number ofsubstantial historical evolutions and it is upon the policy makers inthe US military to counter check facts before making any decision onthis issue considered controversial11.More often than not, the term transgender is taken to mean sex,gender, or identity. One of the scholars, Stryker categorically notedthat gender should never be taken to mean sex12.Similarly, the US military has always confused transgender withsexual identity or orientation whereby any one claiming to betransgender is perceived to be a homosexual, which is never the casebecause a transgender can either be gay or straight.
Thestudy will utilize the case study research design since it is usefulin investigating the new social trends. The issues related totransgender are specific and the design chosen is useful in testingvarious theoretical models, as well as concepts that are oftenconfused. The method is qualitative because it calls on theresearcher to analyze various available resources deeply as opposedto employing simple statistical surveys13.If a researcher were to study the topic of transgender in general, itwould take him or her years to conclude the results hence the usageof case study allows narrowing down to specific issues related to theUS military drafting policies that allow transgender persons to serveactively in the service. However, it has to be mentioned at thisstage that case study method does not answer the research questionfully, but it helps in giving some indications that allow furtherresearch and hypothesis development on the general topic oftransgender. Since various theories have been presented trying toexplain the issue at hand, case study method plays a role in testingwhether these theories and models are applicable in real lifesituations. While some argue that results generated through the casestudy method cannot be extrapolated, the reality is the method, asused in this study, will offer realistic responses. The applicationof case study in this study will allow focusing on specificinteresting area, which is the effect of transgender policies on theair force wing of the military. While going through variousresources, the researcher will engage in thorough and systematic notetaking. Note taking entails writing down the major themes thatpresent themselves in the respondents’ answers. One of the factorsthat led to choosing of this method is the reality that theresearcher is trying to isolate a small study population. At the dataanalysis stage, the findings in the case study method are usuallyopinion based hence collating data into a manageable form whileconstructing narratives will prove critical14.
Inthis study, the researcher will follow the field procedures incarrying out research where questions will be prepared in advancebefore asking respondents. A guide will be prepared for the finalwrite up where the researcher identifies the major themes foranalysis. The first step will be designing the questionnaire that isbased on the unit of analysis and the research purpose. Datacollection will then follow where the researcher moves in with thequestions asking members of staff in the air force regarding theirviews on transgender. The collected data will then be transcribedbefore mapping the major concepts. The researcher will then buildtypologies before embarking on cross checking the facts. He case willthen be described before moving on with analysis that is focused onthemes. Analysis has to be based on purpose, rationale, and theinitial research questions. The case study method will be undertakenin three stages including describing the experiences of the air forcestaff, attaching meaning to the experiences, and focusing theanalysis. Under describing experiences, the interview questionsdeveloped will serve as a script for moving the respondent closer tothe opening up towards the topic on transgender. The questions willbe designed in such a way that they are broad and loosely structured.In the next phase of stage one, the questions are followed by a listof possible sources of data. The sources from the medical department,as well as general provisions of military policies on transgenderwill be analyzed at this stage to check whether they rhyme with whatthe respondents are giving. The second phase is cross checking theliterature where the ideas and works of other scholars arecrosschecked to see what they say about the experiences of the issueat hand. The third phase is mapping data from various data sourceswhere charts, tables, and grids are used to support the informationobtained from the respondents and literature. Finally, theexperiences are categorized into physiological, sociological,psychological dimension.
Thesecond stage is describing meaning where the research goes back tothe literature and tries to relate the questions and method used withthe philosophical framework. In case new meanings of the word areencountered, the researcher will go ahead to analyze them. The laststage is focus of the analysis where the aim is generalization of thefindings generated through the case study method.
Confusingterminologies Associated with Transgender
TheAmerican Psychological Association has a special definition of theword transgender preferring to define it as an umbrella word thatstand for the gender identities, expressions, and behaviours ofpeople in any given community. Such behaviours are inconsistent withthe widely accepted sexual identities and actions that societyassigns people. From this classification, one can easily believe thatthe word is just a simple term that does not demand an extra inquiryin the form of research. In order to understand the complexities thatthe term brings in the world of research, various other terms, sex,sexual identity, and general usage of the word transgender have to bedefined15.This section of the paper dedicates itself to the definition of someof these terms, as well as profiling the historical evolution of theconcept transgender. The medical fraternity in the United States hasmade some tremendous steps to facilitate shifts in classificationsand definition of the confusing word. This section, therefore, triesto explain what transgender is by exploring the views of others andthe common misconceptions.
Currentstudies, especially the one conducted by Shively and DeCecco (2010),suggest that at least four types of sexual identities exist, andthese comprise of biological sex, social sex-role, gender identity,as well as sexual orientation. The modern scholars, together with theAmerican Psychological Association, view gender identity as a conceptrepresenting the way in which an individual perceives him or herself.For instance, some members of society prefer identifying themselvesas male while others as females. Others prefer to use the wordtransgender, and this suggests that gender identity is verydissimilar from biological sex. As Shively and DeCecco would argue,gender identity is person’s basic confidence of being either maleor female16. The American Psychological Association goes on to give an additionalvariety of gender identity, especially when there is a conflictbetween biological sex and gender identity. The APA observes thatpeople identify themselves as transsexual, which is just a variety oftransgender. As the two scholars observe, gender is not an equivalentof gender identity because gender is closely related to the socialsex roles, which are the roles that individuals are forced to take upin order to be accepted as members of society. Sexual orientationperhaps is the most controversial because it refers to anindividual’s attraction (physical or sexual), which might be eitherway meaning either to a man or a woman irrespective of the sex.Explanation of these terminologies is critical to the understandingof the functionality of the individual in society, as this capturesclearly the biological usage, the identity preference, the socialviews, and attraction.
Evolutionof Transgender Phenomenon
Transgenderis not a new word to many researchers because Drescher and et al.(2012) notes that 19th-centuryscholars had already started looking at some issues surrounding theconcept. However, the scholars admit that the occurrence of thephenomena was minimal forcing the medical practitioners to term it asa disorder17.Psychopathology, which means the analysis of the brain defects andmental distress, was the field of a study mandated with theresponsibility of understanding the anomalies associated with genderat the time. Those who claimed to be transgender were considered sickand mental examination was recommended to help diagnose the diseasethat would be encouraging them to change their gender identities. Inthe late 19thcentury, studies focused on understanding some of the reasons thatwould force an individual to live a life contrary to his or hersexual type. Even in the mid 20thcentury, reported cases on transgender were will be categorized asabnormal and individuals suffering from the condition were referredto experts for guiding and counselling. Until then, transgender wasstill viewed in the same way as homosexuality, but Hirschfieldcarried out a study to dispel this misconception. The first sexreassignment surgery was undertaken in the 1920s in Europe.
Inthe United States, the first case was reported in 1952 when thetranssexual woman returned from Denmark after undergoing successfulsurgery. This individual had served in the Army as a draftee forquite some time before seeking to transform to a woman. The incidentserved as a wake-up call to the media, the medical fraternity, andthe public in general and intense medical examinations were performedafterwards. The medical practitioners were overwhelmed with thenumber of people wishing to change their sex to the opposite one andan entire medical training facility was set up in New York to trainenough practitioners to address the new challenge. Stigmatization wasrife in the public because people seeking to change identifies oridentify themselves with members of the opposite sex were vieweddifferently. Publications on the new trends in medical research wenton, but the issue has always been under tight scrutiny with itsmembers undergoing various challenges. The leading universities inthe United States, including John Hopkins, Stanford, Texas, andMinnesota tended to support those intending to change theiridentities. These institutions of high learning promised to identifythrough research the people wishing to be switch over through genitalsurgery and hormone treatment. The US media declared this concertedeffort by the universities a big science of transgender history. Inthe current international society, an individual has no issueundergoing a process that would help him or her convert to the genderhe or she prefers because specific guidelines exist.
Studiesindicate that transgender as a concept has undergone tremendousdevelopments, and the major one is the changes in definitions. TheWorld Health Organization came to the realization that the usage ofthe word disorder to refer to the transgender persons was wrong, andit gave the green light for the revision of the entire document thatreferred to this category of the population as sick. Sexuality andgender have been given a new classification after a rigorous reviewof clinical data and extensive research into the issue. Consequently,transgender is no longer viewed as a disease instead people havecome to appreciate the reality that it is a condition that is likelyto face any person in life. Initially, the usage of words, such asshe-male, he-she, shim, and gender-bender were common, but nowadays,these are derogatory words that are unacceptable, and if found using,one is likely to encounter a court battle resulting in harshpunishment. Any transgender person should only be referred by thegender in which he or she prefers, and any other reference is notallowed meaning their rights are appreciated in society. This doesnot depend on whether their bodies have been altered in anysignificant way. Pressure is on the US military to accept reality andimitate what is taking place in the society.
Shiftsin Gender Classification
Thecontinuous debates in the public domain have shaped gender identityclassifications in a significant way. Advancements in medicalresearch, which are due to the various controversies in the public,have played a critical role in enhancing categorization of genderidentity as well. Drescher and his colleagues were given anassignment by the World Health Organization to carry out clinicalexaminations and conduct studies to shed light on the variouscategories that are likely to come up on sexuality and genderidentity. These findings were to be incorporated into the ICD-10manual, which is indeed the benchmark diagnostic instrument forepistemology, management of health issues, and clinical explanations.The researchers were required to carry out the studies to establishthe general wellbeing of populations where the main task is tomonitor the occurrence of diseases and their prevalence in any givensociety. Unfortunately, the report suggests that all persons claimingto be transgender are mentally sick and the word, gender identitydisorder, is used to explain their situation. With time, definitionshave changed and these have been captured in the ICD. In ICD 6, whichwas drafted in 1948, nothing regarding transsexuals was included. Inthe subsequent ICD, which was the seventh edition, issues surroundingtransgender were not discussed either. In ICD 6, researchers neverestablished any difference between homosexuality and transgenderhence the two were categorized together. ICD-8 had minor changessince homosexuality was identified separately and was no longerperceived to be a disorder. In the ICD-10, homosexuality was replacedby egodystonic sexual orientation. In the first classification,sexual deviations were differentiated from other personalitydisorders in ICD-8. Subsequently, a new word was introduced todescribe homosexuality and the word was transvestism.
In1975 when ICD-9 came into existence, the new word for homosexualitywas given a new meaning ‘a sexual divergence whereby sexualenjoyment is perhaps copied from dressing in cloths that are supposedto be used by the opposite members of the opposite sex. However, thereport went on to claim that people with such tendencies have nodesire to take on opposite sex. In 1990, the new version of ICD (10)was established to incorporate the findings of many researchers inclinical medicine. Under ICD-10, the disorders associated with thebehaviours of the adult persons and their personalities wereperceived differently, but they were still considered gender identitydisorders. Five categories were given, including transsexualism, thedual-role transvestism, the childhood gender identity disorder, theother gender identity disorders, as well as the gender identitydisorder that is unspecified. In 2017, a new version of ICD (11) isexpected to be published and many classifications will be included init. In the current society, transgender is considered an illness andany one found to be among the affected is persuaded to seek medicalattention. Drescher et al. suggests that the word gender incongruenceshould be used to explain the condition.18Classification of gender has also undergone significant changes inthe American Psychiatric Association’s DSM. The DSM is a standardinstrument that is used in classifying mental disorders in the UnitedStates. In the manual, DSM-II was the first version to come up withcategorization of transvestism as an independent sexual deviationcategory. Unfortunately, this categorization did not offer anydescription on gender transgender neither did it offer diagnosticcriteria. DSM-III was an advanced version that relied heavily onneo-Kraepelian model, which is based on descriptions of symptoms uponresearch.
ResearchThemes and Findings in scientific literature
DADTwas the main impediment to the rights and freedoms of thehomosexuals, including lesbians, gays, as well as the bisexualsworking openly in the military. Even though tremendous efforts arebeing put to enable this category of persons to serve comfortably inthe military, they will still struggle to cope because the issue ishighly contestable in society. Some of the controversial issues thatmust be sorted out before ratifying the policy on transgender personsentail the marriage rights, healthcare benefits, and death benefits.With the repealing of DADT homosexuals are expected to enjoy certainbenefits in the military, as well as reporting the injustices thatare often meted to them. It is unfortunate to note that transgenderpersons are not covered in the policy that seeks to prevent therights of homosexuals. This has sparked a debate in the US public,especially among those who participated in helping the homosexuals,to ask certain questions regarding why the transgender persons arenot allowed to serve openly. Palm centre has been in the forefront toconduct studies to establish facts in controversial issues regardingsexuality. It was sponsored heavily by the Tawani Foundation toundertake a research on the transgender within the US military. Thestudy aims at analyzing the effects of legalizing transgender in theUS military and the impacts it would have on other countries, as wellas operations in various fields. Palm centre established variousresearch areas including determining the costs and complexities ofcare to the transgender persons in the military, the issues to dowith discrimination and the ways in which the government and themilitary is prepared to handle them. Furthermore, the study seeks tounravel the impacts on foreign militaries, privacy issue,organizational effectiveness in handling transgender, standardsavailable, the privacy, and prestige of the US military, uniformregulations, and finally medical issues.
Thestudy by Palm centre is perhaps one of its kind because all otherresearches in the country have always focused on homosexuality andindeed the topic is even new to the US military. The focus has beenon repealing contentious clauses included in DADT, but after thesuccessful lobbying, attention has now focused on other inequalitiesin the military, one of them being transgender. In 2008, Bryant andSchilt were of the view that the current military policies andpractices are actually affecting transgender persons negatively andthose suffering most are transsexuals and inter-sex persons. The twoscholars went ahead to analyze an article by Tarynn stating that onan institutional echelon, the U.S. armed forces has taken theconventional position stating non-conformity gender distinctivenessfalling under the aegis of sickness, specifically psychopathology, aswell as those persons associated with such identities. Consequently,they are to be expelled from the military or to be prohibited fromenrolling into the service wherever as well as whenever they try tojoin the forces.19
Underthe current policies, Witten concurs with other observers thattranssexualism is perceived negatively since the US military hasalways seen it as psychosocial problem under the DSM-III, which wasdrafted in 1980.20Another document drafted in 2011 by Grant and others helped inshedding light to the debate on transgender although it was notrelated to the activities that go on in the military. The researcherspublished an article titled, “Injusticeat every Turn: A report of the transgender discrimination survey”and a sample size of over six-thousand transgender people wasutilized, with twenty percent representing those who have at leastserved in the military in the past. Additionally, fifty-five percentof the population interviewed claimed to be living fulltime asmembers of a different sex while some under the population range arewilling to change their sex. Transgender persons are defined in thereport as individuals that some, although definitely not all,transgender as well as gender rebellious individuals carry out tolive in a gender dissimilar from the one they were consigned atdelivery. For some, the expedition took a trip from birth sex toexisting gender may entail for the most part a social transformationbut no medicinal workings for others, therapeutic measures are anindispensable step toward personifying their sexual characteristics.21
Anothertwenty-seven percent agreed that they are willing to stay as part ofthe opposite sex and only eighteen-percent had different viewsclaiming that they will never want to change the sex that wasassigned to them at birth. It was shocking to note that over sixtypercent of the sampled population are in the process of hormonetherapy or are undergoing some form of surgery to change their sex.However, the rate at which people are changing their sex assigned tothem at birth is low and the reason for this includes the highercosts associated with surgery and therapy. Medical insurancecompanies are reluctant to fund the costs associated with therapiesand surgeries forcing those wishing to do so to dig deeper into theirpockets. This is known to constrain the resources of individualsdesiring to change their sex.
UnitedStates Military Policies and Medical Restrictions
Trendsin Policies and Practices
Throughoutthe US history, the military has always been considered unjust tovarious special groups serving in different ranks. Consequently,calls to reform this crucial institution have been ongoing with somepundits urging the government to ensure equality and equal treatmentin the military, particularly on the policies that propagateexclusion. The military is a special environment that citizens of acountry are required to lives under special circumstances thatordinary citizens might not understand. However, it is part of thesocietal institutions where equality principle applies and the rightsof individuals are protected by the constitution. The black persons,gays, lesbians, women, transgender are the special groups in themilitary that have always been treated with low regard. Wheneverthese special groups serve in the military, they are perceived to beinferior and incompetent. As such, they are easily held culpable incase of an occurrence of a serious event. The US government and themilitary have come a long way in solving these problems, but themajor one that is yet to be tackled pertains to transgender. In 2013,the defence secretary, while addressing the congregation at thecommemoration of LGBT pride month appreciated the services of gays aswell as lesbians serving in the military since they have participatedin rewriting the American history as far as the rights of homosexualsare concerned. The secretary noted that the gays and lesbians haveserved the military diligently and the government was not opposed totheir desire to serve openly in the forces. The secretary noted thatwith their service, they were transiting nearer to accomplishing thenation’s original dream, where that all everyone is regarded asequivalent. Achieving the ancestor’s statement of history has takenvery long, but Americans become distinctive following their capacityto alter their course. While egalitarianism has been regarded asunsatisfactory for the last few decades, it has the capacity totransform as well as revolutionize for the better. Everyone needs tobe happy with the duty that the military is undertaking as thus helpthe military realize the values of the country. The roles of themilitary are very demanding and thus require building of civilizationfor every force member as well as the culture of America and the needto observe the rights of everyone.
Thesecretary’s communication was an illuminating one and it sparkedreaction from various groups, with the head of LGBT serving in theNavy wondering whether the government was going to change thepolicies to adhere to the wishes and desires of the transgenderpeople. He observed that in the current LGBTPride Month Celebration at the Pentagon,President Obama’s highest consultant, ValerieJarrett,and the Secretary of Defense [Chuck Hagel] both made use ofhigh-ceilinged terms to commend on the fight for LGBT fairness in thearmed forces. There is only a single impediment: the “T” in“LGBT” implies “transsexual” and transgender people areperhaps excluded from working in the United States armed forces. Thescholar went on to allege that f Hagel is trying to differentiatedelineate members serving in the force actively and the resident DODworkforce, which raises raises some questions as to why theDepartment of Defense (DOD) is making this difference. Now that the“don’task, don’t tell”(DADT)rule was rescinded, none of the lawful explanation exists thathinders the armed forces from altering its guidelines concerningtransgender individuals.22
Inhis speech and observations, the secretary of state appreciated theactivities going on in the military, which are aimed at fighting forthe rights of the gays, lesbians, and transgender persons.Unfortunately, a critical analysis of the speech indicates that thegovernment has a long way to go to achieve the desired objectivesthat would resolve the issues surrounding the transgender persons.Stone raises a serious question in his analysis regarding theexisting policies that cover the transgender persons serving asactive duty members and those citizens living as DOD civilians.23Even with the repealing of the DADT, the transgender persons are notyet recognized as ordinary military personnel that serve openly inthe force. DADT addressed only the issues to do with sexualorientation where gays and lesbians are covered. In this regard,transgender persons identifying themselves as gays or lesbians standto benefit from the new policy after the repeal of DADT, but thosetransgender persons with different sexualities face seriouschallenges because they are not recovered by any policy. AsEmbser-Herbt notes, homosexuality as form of sexuality was never anissue in the military until an investigation was conducted in the20thcentury to determine its prevalence. In 1916, The Articles of Wartalked about homosexuality in the context of assaulting with the aimof committing sodomy. The scholar observes that a significantdifference worth noting implies that as has for all time been thesituation, sodomy as well as homosexuality are not one and the same.An individual who did not classify as him or herself as “gay”could be castigated for taking part in sodomy. Anyone whoacknowledged the fact that he or she is gay could be disciplined forbeing gay, but not essentially be responsible of sodomy. This impliesthat, policies regarding homosexuality were different from theunlawful code’s dealing with sodomy. These initial policies dealtwith just gay men.
TheMilitary Medical Standards
TheUS military applies the document titled, “MedicalStandards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the MilitaryService”in policy drafting, assignment of tasks, and suggest processes, aswell as appointments. If the individual fails to abide by thestanding orders in the medical units, he or she is said to havevacated the service. Various provisions are given in the document,but those that apply to the transgender persons are three and arecontained in the fourth enclosure sections fourteen, fifteen andtwenty-nine. Tempering with genitalia for both sexes is contained inthe fourteenth and fifteenth sections, with section fifteen talkingmore about male genitalia where removal is considered penisamputation. Whenever an individual goes through any of the processes,including hermaphroditic operation, pseudo-hermaphroditic surgery orgonadal dysgenesis, he or she is considered fired from the servicebecause the military does not entertain this forms of medicalprocesses. The twenty-ninth section clarifies the position oftransgender individuals wishing to join the military since it barsthem from doing so.
InternationalClassification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modificationcontained in ICD-9, is a standard tool that gives sexual categoriesof individuals serving in the military. Psychosocial disorders in thedocument are included in section 302, which states that psychosexualillnesses are conflicts in sexual function less important toexpressive and/or cerebral reasons. This group covers sexualmalfunctions, sexual travesties (paraphilias), as well as genderdistinctiveness disorders, moreover, is different from sexualsicknesses that might come up from a fundamental therapeuticsituation. Sexual travesties (paraphilias) entail tough and regularsexual craving for strange circumstances or substances. Cases inpoint include showing one’s genitals regarded as exhibitionism,sexual longing for kids regarded as pedophilia, non-consentinggrownups regarded as sexual sadism, objects regarded as fetishism,looking at other people unclothed or occupied in sexual actionsregarded as voyeurism, in addition to rubbing against another personor something for sexual motivation described as frottage orfrotteurism, and finally cross-dressing described as transvesticfetishism. The other one is Paraphiliac actions, which frequentlystarts in teenage years
Militaryand Civil Service Employment
Eachperson in the United States has the right to access employment andserve the country without harassment. Executive order 11478 capturesthis clearly whereby it states that it is the policy of the USadministration to offer equivalent chances in federal service for allpeople and to forbid favouritism in employment because of race andcolour. It goes on to state that discriminations based on faith,sexual category, national origin, handicap, one’s age, sexual pointof reference or rank as a parent is prohibited. The aim is toencourage the full consciousness of equivalent service chance througha systematic confirmatory program where each administrativedepartment as well as bureau. This rule of equal chance pertains toand has to be an essential part of every feature of workers strategyand exercise in the service, growth, expansion, and handling ofresident workforce of the federal regime, to the level endorsed bylaw.
CaseStudy: Comparison between the US and its allies Canada and Australia
Accordingto the transgender activists in the US military, application of thepolicy is considered effective only if the people affected are madeto understand it better. The United States is actually lagging behindin formulating policies that protect the rights and interests oftransgender persons because countries, such as Canada, CzechRepublic, Netherlands, Israel, Spain, Uruguay, Thailand, Sweden, andUnited Kingdom have effectively policies that cater for thetransgender persons. In 2014, Elders et al. noted that additionalthree countries: Denmark, New Zealand, and Norway, were added in thelist. 24Thesecountries have formal policies that transgender persons are able torefer, as well as reviewing their actions based on the cases when itcomes to recruitment. Canada and the United Kingdom, which are closeallies of the United States, allow transgender persons to serveopenly in their militaries. Equally Yerkes and Mitchell observe thesemilitaries have been forced to comprehend the lives of transgenderpeople. 25Infact, policies can only be efficient when there is a precisecomprehension from the people to whom they will be applied.
Thehistory of the United States regarding equality is both positive andnegative in the sense it offer cases of tolerance and intolerance aswell. At one point, the minorities are included in the running ofpublic affairs through equal opportunity while in other occasionsexclusion is the order of the day. Some minority groups, such as thetransgender persons, struggle for recognition in the country becausethey are seen as second-class citizens. In Australia, the defenceministry follows strictly the provisions of the constitution, whichdemand that individuals be respected and their diverse cultures beincorporated into the policy making processes. A study conducted bythe Australian government in 2011 noted that equal treatment andrespect for values increases employee performance and boosts theirmorale while at the same time lowering the cases of absenteeism. In2010, Dennett (2010) observed that the Australian defence forceslifted a ban that barred transgender persons from working openly inthe force/ military. This was a follow up to the previous lift-upeighteen years ago where gays as well as lesbians were permitted toserve openly. The government drafted a new document to reflect thenew changes in the military resulting in the document titled“UnderstandingTransitioning Gender in the Workplace” (AustralianGovernment Department of Defence). 26
TheAustralia military is required by law to comply with the AustralianHuman Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission act of 1986.Transition, according to the Australian military and government, is acomprehensive event that entails instantaneous chain of command.Since transition is a processes, it has five faces includingunderstanding the issues, defining terminologies, communication andprivacy, recognition and appreciation, administration, and passage ofinformation. Any employee wishing to change his or her sex in themilitary has to be acquainted with the five processes, especially theterminologies involved. Sex and gender are some of the conceptsdefined keenly since they are often confusing.
TheCanadian Forces Military Personnel Instruction states thatexceptional administration of problems concerning transsexual personswithin the armed forces needs perfect leadership from the governmentto assist Commanding Officers (CO) and headship at all levels toexecute these policies. The Canadian Forces (CF), as a nationwideestablishment, is devoted to making sure that CF members who aretranssexual are awarded decorum and esteem.27
Fromthis text, it is clear that the Canadian military is not differentfrom the Austrian forces because they both support transgenderpersons serving in the military. The Canadian manual is drafted tohelp military leaders in supporting the transgender persons wishingto serve openly in the service. As indicated in the military’swebsite, the concepts of dignity, equality, non-discrimination, andguidance are valued aspects in ensuring transgender persons inenjoying their employment in the military. The policy statementsuggests that the CF is encouraging decorum and egalitarianism ofthose whose gender distinctiveness does not correspond to establishedsocietal standards. It prevents prejudice and persecution based ongender distinctiveness through schooling and consciousness. Finally,it offers leadership concerning adjustment of the exclusive needs ofCF Transsexual group as they change (Canadian Forces MilitaryPersonnel Instruction).28In 2012 for instance, the military leadership developed aninstruction plan that gives special concepts and terminologies thathelp in smooth transition among transgender persons. Under chapterthirty-four, issues related to dressing, deportment, privacy, medals,and documentation are discussed in detail.
Itis clearly observed in this section that there is no federal law thatbars transgender people from serving openly in any field ofemployment, be it the military or the civil service. Unfortunately,the US government is persistent in denying this category of thepopulation a chance to serve their country only because they do notconform to the socially and culturally permitted sexualcategorizations. Those serving in the military face severalchallenges ranging from serving secretly and threats of being sackedif they disclose share their conditions with other members of thepublic. This study is exploratory in nature because it seeks toidentify the contentious issues that surround the topic transgender.The aim is to encourage other researchers to undertake a similarstudy to uncover the challenging issues.
Oneof the major conclusions in this article is that transgender can nolonger be viewed as simply a result of mental disorder, a fact thatthe DOD instruction appreciates to an extent of categorizing the termunder a section on learning, psychiatric and behavioural section.Drescher et al. captures this aspect clearly that the investigativecategorizations of disorders associated with (trans) genderuniqueness is an area considered to be lacking of information,mistaken beliefs and disagreements.29The placement of these groups has changes eventually within the ICDas well as the APA’s [American Psychiatric Association’s]Diagnosticand Statistical Manual (DSM), signifyinginitial perceptions regarding what to regard these identifications,what they denote, as well as where to position them.
Theother conclusion is that transgender conditions classified under DODIcannot justify the existence of current policies that tend to excludetransgender individuals from working openly in the military. The twoallies of the US-Canada and Australia, will always allow transgenderto serve in the military openly without actually putting restrictionson them regarding medical stipulations.
Withthe current state of affairs in the US military, transgender personsface several challenges serving openly. One of the recommendations isthat the government and the military should perhaps re-examine andassess the entry standards for transgender persons willing to servetheir country. This category of persons is not allowed to join thearmy simply because of their condition that forces them to identifywith the opposite gender.
Theministry of defence should commission a large-scale research thatwill concentrate in collection of statistical data on transgenderpersons in the military, including the veterans, and civilianswishing to join the forces. Research questions in previous studiesare not answered sufficiently and the reason for this is the samplesize, which is always very small.
Theministry and other concerned stakeholders has to take a close look atthe policies and establish the inconsistencies existing before movingon to try and fix things in order to allow transgender persons toserve comfortably in the military.
Again,setting up a team of experts to analyze the subject matter in thisissue is recommended since confusion of concepts and terminologies iswidespread. Establishing a policy that cuts across the military fortransgender without proper analysis of the situation would presentvarious challenges because the issue raises ethical concerns insociety. The team will help in establishing some of the requirementsthat the military wants before allowing the policy to flourish.Individuals with adequate knowledge, especially those from countrieswho implement the transgender policies, would be needed to help thelocal experts in resolving the issue at hand.
Bowen,Anthony, and Lane, Andrew. “End of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”is victory for philanthropy,” TheChronicle of Philanthropy,Vol. 7, no. 11, 2011.
Devaney,Tim. Newrules protect transgender workers against discrimination, The Hill,2014. Access fromhttp://thehill.com/regulation/227599-new-rules-protect-transgender-workers-against-discrimination
Elders,J., Steinman, A., Brown, G., Coleman, E., & Kolditz, T. (2014).Reportof the transgender military service commission. Retrievedfrom The Palm Center website:http://www.palmcenter.org/press/trans/releases/commissionreport
Gerring,John. CaseStudy Research.New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Hines,Sally. Trans-Forminggender: transgender practices of identity, intimacy and care.New York: The Policy Press, 2007.
Kamarck,Kristy. What are the department of defence (DOD) policies ontransgender service? CRSInsights,2015. Accessed from DOD_Transgender_Policy.pdf
Rawson,KJ. “What’s in a world? The challenges of transgender,” theConversation, 2015.accessed fromtheconversation.com/whats-in-a-word-the-challenges-of-transgender-38633
Santa,Barbara. “Transgender troops face discrimination”, PalmCentre Analysis of Veterans Organization Data,2008. Accessed from
Stryker,S. (2008). Transgenderhistory.Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Thomas,Gary. Howto do your Case Study: A Guide for Students and Researchers.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011.
Transgendertroop’s policy change raises many questions. Accessed fromTransgender_troops_policy_change_raises_many_questions%20(3).htm
Sitterly,Daniel. TransgenderSeparation Decision Authority.Official Guidance Memorandum, Washington: Department of Defense,2015.
AmericanPsychological Association. (2011). Definitionsof terms: Sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation. Retrievedfrom http://www.apa.org/search.aspx? query=definition of terms: sex,gender, gender identity sexual orientation
Drescher,J., Cohen-Kettenis, P., & Winter, S. (2012). Minding the body:Situating gender identity diagnoses in the ICD-11. InternationalReview of Psychiatry,568– 577.
Stryker,S. (2008). Transgenderhistory.Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Shively,M., & De Cecco, J. (2010). Components of sexual identity.Journal of homosexuality,3(1),41–18.
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Drescher,Jack, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, and Sam Winter. “Minding the body:Situating gender identity diagnoses in the ICD-11.” InternationalReview of Psychiatry,24, no. 6 (2012): 568– 577.
Elders,Joycelyn, Alan Steinman, George Brown, Eli Coleman, and ThomasKolditz. “Reportof the transgender military service commission”. PalmCentre (2014).http://www.palmcenter.org/press/trans/releases/commissionreport(accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
Embser-Herbert,Sheridan. TheU.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Westport,CT: Praeger Security International, 2007.
Grant,Jaime, Lisa Mottet, Justin Tanis, Jack Harrison, Jody Herman, andMara Keisling. Injusticeat every turn: A report of the national transgender discriminationsurvey.National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation (2011)http://www.thetaskforce.org/static_html/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf(accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
Stone,Brian. “Isthe department of defense changing on transgender policy?”Huffington Post 26 (July 2013)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brianstone/is-the-department-of-defense-changing-on-transgender-policy_b_3592631.html (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
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1 Stryker, S. (2008). Transgender history. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
2 American Psychological Association. (2011). Definitions of terms: Sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/search.aspx? query=definition of terms: sex, gender, gender identity sexual orientation
3Devaney, Tim. New rules protect transgender workers against discrimination, The Hill, 2014. Access from http://thehill.com/regulation/227599-new-rules-protect-transgender-workers-against-discrimination
4Hines, Sally. Trans-Forming gender: transgender practices of identity, intimacy and care. New York: The Policy Press, 2007.
5Transgender troop’s policy change raises many questions. Accessed from Transgender_troops_policy_change_raises_many_questions%20(3).htm
6Bowen, Anthony, and Lane, Andrew. “End of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is victory for philanthropy,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Vol. 7, no. 11, 2011.
7Elders, J., Steinman, A., Brown, G., Coleman, E., & Kolditz, T. (2014). Report of the transgender military service commission. Retrieved from The Palm Center website: http://www.palmcenter.org/press/trans/releases/commissionreport
8Transgender troop’s policy change raises many questions. Accessed from Transgender_troops_policy_change_raises_many_questions%20(3).htm
9Santa, Barbara. “Transgender troops face discrimination”, Palm Centre Analysis of Veterans Organization Data, 2008. Accessed from http://www.palmcenter.org/press/dadt/releases/new_data_on_gender_identity_in_military
10Rawson, KJ. “What’s in a world? The challenges of transgender,” the Conversation, 2015. accessed from theconversation.com/whats-in-a-word-the-challenges-of-transgender-38633
11Kamarck, Kristy. What are the department of defence (DOD) policies on transgender service? CRS Insights, 2015. Accessed from DOD_Transgender_Policy.pdf
12Stryker, S. Transgender history (Berkeley: Seal Press) 2008. P. 9
13Thomas, Gary. How to do your Case Study: A Guide for Students and Researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011.
14Gerring, John. Case Study Research. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
15Sitterly, Daniel. Transgender Separation Decision Authority. Official Guidance Memorandum, Washington: Department of Defense, 2015.
16 Shively, M., & De Cecco, J. (2010). Components of sexual identity. Journal of homosexuality, 3(1), 41–18.
17 Drescher, J., Cohen-Kettenis, P., & Winter, S. (2012). Minding the body: Situating gender identity diagnoses in the ICD-11. International Review of Psychiatry, 568– 577.
18 Harley Dennett, “Let them serve: Defence drops ban on transgender soldiers.” Crikey 15 (September 2015) http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/15/ let-them-serve-defence-drops-ban-on-transgender-soldiers/ (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
19 Tarynn Witten. Gender identity and the military: Transgender, transsexual, and intersex-identified individuals in the U.S. armed forces. Santa Barbara, CA: The Palm Center, University of California. Palm Center (2007) http://www.palmcenter.org/files/active/0/TransMilitary2007.pdf (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
21 Jaime Grant, Lisa Mottet, Justin Tanis, Jack Harrison, Jody Herman, and Mara Keisling. Injustice at every turn: A report of the national transgender discrimination survey. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation (2011) http://www.thetaskforce.org/static_html/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf (accessed Nov. 18, 2015), 26).
22 Sheridan Embser-Herbert,The U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007.
23 Brian Stone. “Is the department of defense changing on transgender policy?” Huffington Post 26 (July 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brianstone/is-the-department-of-defense-changing-on-transgender-policy_b_35926 31.html (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
24 Joycelyn Elders, Alan Steinman, George Brown, Eli Coleman, and Thomas Kolditz. “Report of the transgender military service commission”. Palm Centre (2014). http://www.palmcenter.org/press/trans/releases/commissionreport (accessed Nov. 18, 2015).
25 Adam Yerke and Valory Mitchell. “Transgender people in the military: Don’t ask? Don’t tell? Don’t enlist!” Journal of Homosexuality, no. 60, 2–3 (2013):436.
26 Australian Government Department of Defence. Understanding transitioning gender in the workplace (1.03). Australia, 2011.
27 (Canadian Forces Military Personnel Instruction, 2011, p. 2).
28 Canadian Forces Military Personnel Instruction, Management of Canadian forces transsexual members (01/11). (Canada, 2011) , 2.
29 Jack Drescher, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, and Sam Winter. “Minding the body: Situating gender identity diagnoses in the ICD-11.” International Review of Psychiatry, 24, no. 6 (2012): 568.