Defining transgender medical care in the military

As we watch the transgender service bans crumble, it’s time to think about some more steps. One issue is transgender medical care. When one SPARTA member publically transitioned at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center a few weeks ago, she set in motion some behind the scenes changes that we should all be aware of and seek to control.

A friend is a senior psychiatric nurse at Walter Reed. After Jamie’s very public transition, she was told by her general to create a transgender care practice at Walter Reed. She reached out to me. I initially gave her a copy of “Trans Bodies Trans Selves”, the WPATH standards of care, and a few other documents.

I’m meeting with her on Sunday July 5th to further define care. I will be joined by Shannon Murphy, a Navy veteran and CTO for health care at a major multi-national firm.

I expect them to want to provide counseling and hormones. I will argue for a much broader suite of care including primary and secondary sexual gender characteristics.  I work for IBM now, for male to female transition they cover primary, secondary, facial feminization, and body sculpting. But my former company covered trachea shave, breasts, gender reassignment, hormones and counseling. This type of coverage is much more prevalent. I’m using MtF as an example. I’ll also argue for appropriate FtM coverage.

I expect a little bit of push back here. Do you think primary and secondary characteristics is enough? Should I argue for more? Face work? Body sculpting? Hair removal or transplants (even very progressive plans don’t cover this).

 I will be reaching out to members for help on this issue. I believe that what we define at Walter Reed could become the standards across the military. 

Constance Rice USMC ’77-‘81

Showing 6 reactions

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  • commented 2015-07-14 10:29:48 -0400
    SecDef’s latest guidance is making me hopeful, but I hear you on the election piece. A new administration could bring this all to a screeching halt just short of implementation.
  • commented 2015-07-13 18:40:46 -0400
    You could take a look at what is covered by federal government employee insurance as a starting point. People have been working hard to get reasonable trans healthcare covered for federal employees.
  • commented 2015-07-05 23:05:49 -0400
    UPDATE: The meeting tonight was very productive. But – the woman we met with is building a program for dependent children and adults. We feel that service member coverage will lag. The feeling is also that the Pentagon in not happy with the new directives and that they are playing a waiting game to see how the elections shake out.
  • commented 2015-07-05 13:29:17 -0400
    All good point Jack. I’d add about uniforms – who pays for the enlisted uniforms? This is very preliminary for us. I am meeting this afternoon. we will offer to meet with higher ups and bring in doctors to back us up.

    I’ve been out of the Marines for decades and I have a good and safe job at IBM. I don’t mind making the case.

  • commented 2015-07-05 11:28:26 -0400
    I am a self identified FtM, and active duty Marine. I’m very curious as to how the military will be deciding what treatments will be available and what will not. If we ask for everything, the worst they can do is say no, but if we don’t ask, they won’t know what to offer to us.
    Also, I’d like to know what uniforms we will wear, what PT standards we will conform to, and how long we will have to meet those new standards. I understand the NCAA rules state 6 months on HRT. Are there any studies on how long it takes an average biological female to transition to the point they can physically pass a male PFT and succeed at the same level they were before? When will our billeting change if we are required to have a roommate? When will we be allowed to use the appropriate bathroom?
    And as for the latest push from the DON regarding the higher authority of discharge, how will this affect those of us with security clearances if we’ve never been through a psychiatric evaluation? Are they using this as a smokescreen to push all of us out regardless of our records under the guise of “making it equal application of the rule”?
    I want to be able to fight for our rights, but I worked so hard to get where I am, I would hate to lose my ability to serve my country by outing myself too soon and not waiting long enough to see the new rules enacted.
    Thank you for advocating for us, you all have my sincerest and deepest gratitude.
    Sgt, USMC
  • published this page in SPART*A Impacts 2015-07-03 10:49:42 -0400