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 status1.”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 sex2.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 woman3.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 force4.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?
Thereport published by Palm centre titled ‘report of the transgendermilitary service commission’, approximated the number of peopleliving as transgender in the United States to be seven-hundredthousand5.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 force6.
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 militaries7.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 phrase8.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 controversial9.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 sex10.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 surveys11.If a researcher were 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. One of the factors that led to choosing of this method is thereality that the researcher is trying to isolate a small studypopulation. At the data analysis stage, the findings in the casestudy method are usually opinion based hence collating data into amanageable form while constructing narratives will prove critical12.
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
1Devaney, 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
2Hines, Sally. Trans-Forming gender: transgender practices of identity, intimacy and care. New York: The Policy Press, 2007.
3Transgender troop’s policy change raises many questions. Accessed from Transgender_troops_policy_change_raises_many_questions%20(3).htm
4Bowen, 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.
5Elders, 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
6Transgender troop’s policy change raises many questions. Accessed from Transgender_troops_policy_change_raises_many_questions%20(3).htm
7Santa, 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
8Rawson, 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
9Kamarck, Kristy. What are the department of defence (DOD) policies on transgender service? CRS Insights, 2015. Accessed from DOD_Transgender_Policy.pdf
10Stryker, S. Transgender history (Berkeley: Seal Press) 2008. P. 9
11Thomas, Gary. How to do your Case Study: A Guide for Students and Researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011.
12Gerring, John. Case Study Research. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.