- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The U.S. Marine Corps says that it and the Department of Defense as a whole are “blazing a trail” to create a transgender-friendly military.

Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis, deputy commandant for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, signed a six-page document on transgender issues on Nov. 22. The Corps was the last branch of service to fulfill the Pentagon’s policy request, which will allow transgender recruits to serve by July 2017.

Maj. Garron Garn, a spokesman for the department, addressed the document with Military.com on Tuesday.

“For all of DoD, not just the Marine Corps, everyone’s blazing a trail on this,” the officer said. “A lot of scenarios are being discussed. It’s so new and we’re breaking ground.”

Some of the key takeaways from the document include:

  • Transgender Marines must meet all height, weight, physical fitness, uniform and grooming standards of their preferred gender.
  • Transgender Marines may be separated from the Corps if their transition process interferes with training.
  • Transgender Marines will adhere to the same drug testing rules as their peers.
  • Transgender Marines whose ability to meet standards while transitioning may apply for an exception to existing policies.

“Each case is really going to be unique and individual and it’s going to be case-by-case,” Maj. Garn told the defense website.

The officer added that statistics on the number of Marines who have requested permission to begin the transition process will not be released at this time.

“I have not heard from anywhere that Marines are pushing back against this,” the officer told Military.com. “The decision has been made and the Marines will execute.”

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