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Transgender Cadets at Military Academies Are Allowed to Graduate but Not Serve

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Two transgender cadets – one at the Air Force Academy and one at the US Military Academy at West Point – will be allowed to graduate in May but will not be allowed to serve afterwards.

USA Today reports the Air Force and Army will not allow the cadets to serve alongside their fellow graduates because the Pentagon has yet to establish procedures for integrating transgender troops, although a blanket ban on trans troops was rescinded last year. 

The academies have not released the names or genders of the two cadets but have spoken about them to the press.

“Currently, there is an Air Force Academy cadet who has identified as a transgender individual,” Lt. Col. Allen Heritage, an academy spokesman, told USA Today. “The cadet can graduate. But, per the current [Defense Department] transgender policy, this cadet cannot commission into the Air Force. However, we are strongly recommending this individual for Air Force civil service as an option for continued service after the academy.”

The policy that would allow transgender troops to be accepted into the military is supposed to be developed later this year, according to the Daily Mail. The Air Force Academy graduation ceremony will take place May 24.

An Army spokeswoman also confirmed there is a transgender cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point.

“We can confirm that a military academy cadet has identified as transgender, however, per the current Department of Defense medical accessions policy, this cadet cannot commission,” spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement to USA Today.

West Point will recognize the cadet’s biological sex rather than their identified gender at the academy’s graduation ceremony on May 27. 

RAND Corp. estimates there are currently over 6,000 transgender troops in active duty out of about 1.3 million.


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