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My Coast Guard
Commentary | June 9, 2021

Coast Guard updates transgender service policy

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian McCrum

The Coast Guard has updated its military transgender service policy manual.

The changes in policy reflect the Jan. 25, 2021, Executive Order (EO) on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform, which establishes that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces should be able to serve.

Coast Guard policy changes include:

  • New transgender accessions who have undergone gender treatment must be stable in the self-identified gender for 18 months before joining the Coast Guard, instead of the 36 months under previous policy.
  • Members can request a gender marker change in DEERS when a medical provider has deemed their transition is complete. Previously, the member had to be stable in gender for 18 months.
  • The routing of a gender transition request (GTR) has been brought to a lower level. A GTR proceeds from the member to their commanding officer or officer in charge, to the first O6 or GS-15 (if not already included), then directly to the Personnel Service Center (PSC) for final approval.  
  • The timeline for a GTR is more succinct: Commanding officers have 30 calendar days to forward a completed GTR package to the first O-6/GS-15 in the chain of command. The O-6/GS-15 has until 45 calendar days after the completed package was received to get the GTR to PSC. PSC has 45 calendar days upon receipt to approve or deny the request. The total routing process should take no longer than 90 days upon submission of a completed package.

In order to meet the requirements of the EO, the Coast Guard’s Director of Human Resources Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan stood up a special team of experts to expedite the development of the policy. As part of the policy writing process, this group organized a listening session to hear directly from current Coast Guard transgender members who had gone through the process of transitioning while on active duty. 

“This was a very educational session and helped those who were putting pen to paper understand the ground level impacts and really improve the policy” said Capt. Anthony Williams, Chief of the Office of Military Personnel Policy.

Members with questions about the new policy should discuss with their chain of command and/or check the resources below.