The Pentagon policy of allowing transgender members of the military to serve openly just began October 1.
Army officials have announced that the first ten soldiers have formally asked to be recognized in their new gender.
The small number represents only those who have publicly said they are transgender, and doesn't include soldiers who may be considering or beginning gender transition or those who don't yet want to make an official paperwork change.
Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, said the key now is to educate the force, particularly commanders who will have to make decisions about soldiers in their units who request a gender change.
Is the Army ready? Well, we are educating ourselves, and we are trying to get ready. We're well-past the issue of debating and arguing about transgender. We are now into execution, to make sure the program is carried out with diligence, dignity, respect.
Transgender troops are now able to receive medical care and begin changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon's personnel system. Next year, the military services will begin allowing transgender individuals to enlist, as long as they meet required standards and have been stable in their identified gender for 18 months.
We're monitoring implementation closely, and everything we've seen so far points to a military organization fully committed to treating everyone equally and providing medically necessary care to all troops, not just some. My conclusion, so far, is that implementation has proceeded smoothly and successfully.
--Aaron Belkin, Palm Center
The issue to do it or not to do it, to me is not an issue — the answer is yes. The question of how to do it so that it is deliberate, well thought out, executed with professionalism — that's a horse of a different color. Frankly I asked for more time.
Now, he said, the Army is getting education programs out to the force to make sure troops and commanders know the new rules, process, medical criteria and who has the authority to make decisions on a service member's gender change.
Under the new Army guidelines, training must be developed by Nov. 1, and it must be completed throughout the force by next July.
It's going to take a little bit of time, but there are some things I don't think you need to necessarily be trained on. Rule One is treat your soldiers, your subordinates, your peers and your superiors as you want to be treated. Treat everybody with dignity and respect. Period. Flat out. Full stop.
We may not know the full scope yet. Others that may consider themselves as transgender but haven't self-identified publicly may be holding back because they want to see how things progress.
I would not want to be stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, right now. While I think that Fort Bragg is probably going to do an amazing job implementing these policies and procedures, with House Bill 2, North Carolina is not a very friendly place for a transgender person to be right now. So I think that while our Department of Defense is absolutely leading the way on gender equality and social justice, the country has some catching up to do.
--Staff Sgt. Patricia King, Joint Base Lewis McChord
Witness the article that quote is drawn from, which misgenders the staff sergeant.