The U.S. Navy granted its first waiver that will allow a transgender service member to continue serving despite a 2019 policy that would have seen the sailor discharged. The naval officer, identified in the case as Jane Doe, served nearly 10 years in uniform as a surface warfare officer before being confronted with the likelihood of being kicked out under the new rules.
Doe filed her complaint in March in Massachusetts federal district court, with representation coming from the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). According to the members of her legal team, Doe first came out as transgender after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria in June 2019. The new guidelines, however, went into effect in April 2019, leaving Doe without protection under the policy’s grandfather clause.
The new policy was put into effect on the heels of a 2017 tweet from President Donald Trump that declared the military would no longer allow “transgender individuals to serve in any capacity,” a decision, the president wrote, came after “consultation with my Generals.” Trump’s decision reversed a 2016 policy implemented by the Obama administration that allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the armed force.
Navy officials confirmed the waiver’s approval, and noted that Jane Doe’s gender marker will be updated in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. The officer can now adhere to grooming and uniform standards in accordance to her preferred gender, Navy officials said.