Americans who were born male but who are now living in a transgendered, female-styled body are required to sign up for the Selective Service when they turn 18 just like all other young men, according to a policy that has gained attention in the past few days. It’s a policy that is out of step with the direction the Biden White House has been going, which is to honor the new gender expression without exception, and help transgendered individuals erase their past identity on government records and identifications.
“Parents, if your son is an only son and the last male in your family to carry the family name, he is still required to register with SSS,” the Selective Service said on Twitter last Friday. That tweet linked to the policy on the agency’s website, which has a transgender section that specifies that all citizens or immigrants who were born male, but changed their gender appearance to female, are still males in the eyes of the federal agency.
The policy says that “transgender” refers to people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g. the sex listed on an original birth certificate).
The Office of Personnel Management guidance explains that “transgender woman” is the term used to refer to someone who was “assigned” the male sex at birth but who identifies as a female. Likewise, the office says that “transgender man” refers to someone who was “assigned” the female sex at birth but who identifies as male.
As for women who transitioned to appear as men, it’s trickier for the Selective Service.
“Individuals who have changed their gender to male will be asked to complete a Status Information Letter (SIL) request form and provide a copy of their birth certificate. Keep your original SIL and send copies to state-based financial aid institutions if needed,” the policy states. In other words, women who become men do not need to sign up for Selective Service, but should keep paperwork handy so they are not denied government benefits in the future for having not signed up.
Last year, the U.S. Military issued a notice that said transgendered individuals or those “with gender dysphoria who can meet the Army’s standards for military service” can now serve openly in their self-identified gender.
Army directive 2021-22 changed the service’s retention, separation, in-service transition, and medical care standards for transgender personnel and refines entry criteria for individuals with gender dysphoria, following guidance from the Pentagon.
A soldier’s gender identity will no longer be a basis for involuntary separation or military discharge, denied reenlistment or continuation of service, or subjected to adverse action or mistreatment, according to the military’s new policy.
The Selective Service policy, however, is at odds with the Pentagon policy and the Biden White House, which has been issuing various transgender policies and guidelines since taking over the White House, including:
- The Justice Department issued a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care.
In that letter, the Justice Department said “Because a government cannot discriminate against a person for being transgender ‘without discriminating against that individual based on sex,’ state laws or policies that discriminate against transgender people must be ‘substantially related to a sufficiently important governmental interest.’”
This appears to contradict the Selective Service policy.
- The Department of State announced that beginning on April 11, 2022, all U.S. citizens will be able select an “X” as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application. More information is found at travel.state.gov/gender.
- Streamlining identity validation. TSA has updated its standard operating procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. This helps transportation security officers to validate each traveler’s identity while avoiding unnecessary delays of having to check the gender.
- Updating TSA PreCheck and CBP Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment to include “X” gender markers. The Department of Homeland Security is adding “X” gender markers options in the Trusted Traveler programs and the TSA PreCheck program for the benefit of “transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers.”
- Accessing retirement savings. The Social Security Administration is removing the requirement that transgender people show proof of identity such as doctor’s notes in order to update their gender information in their social security record by the fall of 2022. “This will significantly improve transgender individuals’ experience in accessing their retirement benefits, obtaining health care, and applying for jobs.”
- Filing an employment discrimination complaint. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is giving individuals the option to select an “X” gender marker during the voluntary self-identification questions that are part of the intake process for filing a charge of discrimination.
- Applying for federal student aid. The Department of Education proposed that the 2023-24 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will include an opportunity for applicants to indicate their gender identity as well as their race/ethnicity when applying for federal financial aid.
- Visiting the White House. The White House Office of Management and Administration is implementing updates that will improve the White House campus entry process for “transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary visitors” by adding an “X” gender marker option to the White House Worker and Visitor Entry System (WAVES) system. “This change will ensure that transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people can visit the People’s House in a manner that respects and affirms their gender identity.”
- The White House announced that the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 23 budget includes $10 million in funding for additional critical research on how to best add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, one of our nation’s largest and most important surveys of American households. This data collection will help the federal government better serve the LGBTQI+ community by providing valuable information on their jobs, educational attainment, home ownership, and more.
- The Department of Health and Human Services has released the findings of the federal government’s first-ever user research testing conducted with transgender Americans on how they want to see themselves reflected on Federal IDs. This research by the Collaborating Center for Question Design and Evaluation Research at the National Center for Health Statistics directly informed the State Department’s adopted definition of the “X” gender marker.