US Army Mulls Letting Soldiers Switch Bases If Local Laws Discriminate Against Gender Identity
The US Army is circulating a draft policy that would allow soldiers to move bases if they feel state or local laws discriminate against them on the basis of race, religion, sex, or gender, according to Military.com, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the plans.
The guidance adds specific language on discrimination to an existing policy, and would need final approval from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. If enacted it would constitute one of the Army’s most pro-LGBTQ policies to date.
“Some states are becoming untenable to live in; there’s a rise in hate crimes and rise in LGBT discrmination,” said Lindsay Church executive director of Minority Veterans of America, an advocacy group. “In order to serve this country, people need to be able to do their job and know their families are safe. All of these states get billions for bases but barely tolerate a lot of the service members.”
If finalized, the new rules would clarify what situations would entitle a soldier to a so-called compassionate reassignment. Right now, those rules are vague but are mostly used for soldiers going through family problems that cannot be solved through “leave, correspondence, power of attorney, or help of family members or other parties,” according to Army regulations.
The updated guidance, which sources said was drafted in response to several state laws but before a draft of a potential Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, would instruct commanders that they can use compassionate reassignment specifically to remove troops facing discrimination from their duty stations. -Military.com
According to a 2015 Rand study, around 6% of the US military is gay or bisexual, while 1% is transgender or nonbinary – numbers which Military.com suggests are “likely low,” given that the survey was taken just four years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and before transgender troops could openly serve.
The leaked draft policy follows comments by Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, the service’s top enlisted leader, who told lawmakers that the force is considering a response to the end of Roe v. Wade.
“The answer is yes, we are drafting policies to ensure we take care of our soldiers in an appropriate way,” he told a House Appropriations Committee subpanel. “There are drafts if it were to be overturned, but that would be a decision for the secretary of the Army to decide the policy.”
That said, the policy change allowing for switching bases was written in April, weeks before the Roe v. Wade draft decision leaked, according to the report.
Read the rest of the report here.
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 20:00