Staff Writer Jax Gay
A second transgender American has successfully joined the U.S. military, ABC News is reporting. The unnamed service member signed a contract with the Navy on March 1.
The announcement comes just weeks after the Pentagon confirmed the first trans service member signed a contract with an undisclosed branch of the Armed Forces on February 23. Both cleared a battery of medical, physical and physiological tests required for enlistment and are expected to begin basic training in a few months. (Under current Pentagon policy, transgender recruits must also be stable in their gender for at least 18 months.)
President Trump proposed a ban on trans service members in a series of tweets last July, reversing an Obama administration directive from 2016. Federal court rulings rejected the ban, at least in part, and transgender people began the process of enlisting on January 1, 2018.
“From what we are seeing, the enlistment process appears to be going smoothly, as we expected it would,” says the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Shannon Minter earlier this year. “Transgender people must meet the same qualifications as others, and military recruiters are well-prepared to guide applicants through the process.”
It’s believed 15 to 20 trans people have started the process since the year began., joining the estimated 4,500 transgender service members on active duty or in the reserves.
The White House is expected to release a new official policy by the end of this month. While the court rulings make a full ban unlikely, advocates worry the Trump administration will enact requirements that are so stringent as to practically prohibit open service by trans personnel.