Two transgender cadets at West Point and the Air Force Academy, respectively, will be allowed to graduate but not join the armed forces as officers because the military currently has no procedures on how to accept new transgender troops in its ranks, USA Today reports.
The unnamed cadets still have exams to pass to graduate, but upon graduation, USA Today reports, they will not be commissioned into the military.
“Currently, there is an Air Force Academy cadet who has identified as a transgender individual,” said Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, 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.”
Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman, also confirmed that a transgender Army cadet can graduate but cannot join the military ranks.
Making matters worse, West Point reportedly will recognize the cadet’s biological sex, not preferred gender, at graduation.
Last June, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Pentagon will lift its ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military, protocol for new, openly transgender recruits is scheduled to roll out this year.
USA Today adds that up to 6,600 of the 1.3 million troops in the active duty military force are transgender, according to RAND Corp., a nonprofit military research company. RAND Corp. provided insight to the Department of Defense regarding the costs and numbers associated with openly-transgender troops.
Treatment for transgender troops, which could range from counseling to hormone replacement therapy to gender confirmation surgery, could cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, according to RAND.
The Air Force Academy commencement is schedule to be delivered by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Colorado Springs on May 24. The West Point commencement address is schedule to be delivered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on May 27.
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