On July 26, 2017, the United States Navy announced that its newest aircraft carrier would be the first to have gender-neutral bathrooms.
The change was made to make life easier, but it implies the acceptance of gender non-conforming individuals. The Navy says they have planned to include transgenders.
A lot of back and forth transpired in deciding to have gender inclusive spaces, which would help transgender troops. According to Operations Specialist 1st Class Kaylea Motsenbocker, “this is designed to give the ship flexibility because there aren’t any berthing areas dedicated to one sex or the other.”
The Navy’s decision emphasizes the Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, commonly referred to as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. No one can be denied usage of the bathrooms based on another’s assumption. Even if one Navy Seal believes another is something they are not they have to use the same facility.
As stated previously, this change was implemented for flexibility of the berthing areas, but at the same time, it coincides with gender inclusion and awareness. This is the first Navy ship to announce gender-neutral bathrooms.
There are thousands of transgender people in the military as a whole, and Navy troops contribute to that number. The Navy is taking the first step toward recognition.
In 2016, The Rand Group conducted a study that “estimated there to be between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender soldiers out of 1.3 million active duty troops.” The group concluded the overall costs from transgender-related medical expenses would be minimal.
Society, for the most part, does not yet widely accept transgenders and the problems they face. Awareness of their situation, feelings, and needs may go a long way in helping society to be more understanding and accepting of their lifestyles.
Written by Alexandria Martin
Edited by C. Milne and J. Smith
Breitbart: Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Is First To Have Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Haaretz: Marine General: No Change in Military Transgender Policy Until Trump Sends Official Order
Rand Corporation: Impact of Transgender Personnel on Readiness and Health Care Costs in the U.S. Military Likely to Be Small
Featured and Top Image by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito Courtesy of U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License