- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2020

The first waiver issued by the Defense Department to allow a service member to serve their country under a specified gender other than that corresponding with their biological sex was granted to a U.S. Navy officer this week.

The one-year-old policy prohibits troops from serving in the military who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria and effectively blocks current service members from transitioning genders.

Acting Navy Secretary James McPherson approved the waiver on Wednesday, a Navy spokesperson told CNN.

“The acting Secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” they said.

The spokesperson explained that the service member “requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender, to include obtaining a gender marker change in (the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming.”

Under the Pentagon’s existing guidelines, transgender people can serve in the U.S. armed forces but only in line with regulations pertaining to their biological sex. Top officials can grant waivers to exempt some people from the rule.

Current U.S. service members who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria and choose to undergo medical treatment, either hormone therapy or gender transition surgery, could be medically retired or medically discharged, under the 2019 guidelines.

President Trump in 2017 abruptly announced a ban on transgendered individuals serving in the military, reversing a decision made just before President Obama left office the year before.

The announcement was quickly slammed by Democrats and human rights organizations who argued that the policy was discriminatory and will hurt America’s reputation abroad.

The ruling has since been challenged several times in court and on Capitol Hill where Democrats last year voted to block funds that contributed to implementing the ban.

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