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Navy to Hold All-Hands Training, Webinars on New Transgender Policy

The Pentagon celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Pride Month in 2012. A transgender Army civilian faced repeated instances of discrimination and humiliation, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced. Chad J. McNeeley/Navy
The Pentagon celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Pride Month in 2012. A transgender Army civilian faced repeated instances of discrimination and humiliation, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced. Chad J. McNeeley/Navy

As the Pentagon makes changes to allow transgender service members to serve openly, the Navy is holding training to educate all troops on the new policies.

In an all-Navy message published Tuesday, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke said a three-pronged training approach will equip senior leaders and rank-and-file personnel for the changes.

"This training will emphasize policies and expectations of personal behavior," the message states.

Beginning Nov. 1, mobile training teams composed of Navy fleet representatives and subject matter expects will be dispatched to deliver face-to-face briefs to senior leaders, including commanding officers, executive officers, command master chiefs, and chiefs of boat.

These sessions will also be open to equal opportunity advisers, ombudsmen and other command-designated representatives who will have a role in training the tenant commands on policies governing transgender troops.

A spokeswoman for Naval Personnel Command, Lt. Jessica Anderson, told Military.com in an email that a commander's tool kit is being developed to guide training, and that additional information about what these training sessions will include will be available in a future message to the fleet.

"Service members are expected to maintain standards of conduct and treat each other with dignity and respect," she said. "Training for sailors will be conducted by command triads via mobile training teams or DVD with a facilitation guide if the unit is in a remote area and unable to receive face-to-face training. There will also be webinars for COs to ask questions prior to delivering training to their commands."

According to the message, DVDs and discussion guides will be mailed to each unit, along with copies of the commander's tool kit and a Defense Department guide being created to explain policy. The webinars, made available to leadership teams, will be provided after mobile training team visits as an opportunity for subject matter experts to answer any remaining questions before fleet training begins.

All sailors will have completed a training session on the new policies by July 1, 2017, Anderson said. That's when the services plan to begin accepting transgender recruits for the first time.

Along with permitting transgender troops to serve openly, the military is creating procedures for troops to change their "gender marker" in the administrative Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, and laying out rules to govern how troops might undergo medical gender transitions while in uniform.

Transgender troops will be required to use the bathroom and berthing facilities associated with their preferred gender, Navy officials have said.

And service leaders will be on alert for those who seek to single out or mistreat their transgender counterparts.

"We do not tolerate harassment of any kind," Anderson said. "Treating all service members with dignity and respect is something we take extremely seriously, and when there are any indications that those values are not being followed, we will conduct appropriate investigations and take action as necessary."

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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