USAF Elevates Discharge Authority for Transgendered Airmen

The Air Force has elevated decision authority for involuntary separation for transgendered enlisted airmen to the director of the Air Force Review Boards Agency, according to a June 4 release. The move does not change the policy but is meant to ensure the existing policy is consistently applied, said Daniel Sitterly, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs. “Neither gender dysphoria or self-identification as transgender is an automatic circumstance that generates involuntary separation,” states the release. “A recommendation for discharge … must be supported by a report of evaluation by a psychiatrist or PhD-level clinical psychologist.” In addition, the commander also must “determine that the condition interferes with duty requirements, including potential deployment, or duty performance,” states the release. The move follows a similar one implemented by the Army in March. The New York Times also on June 4 released a documentary featuring SrA. Logan Ireland, who joined the Air Force as a woman but has since transitioned to male, and his fiance Army SSgt. Loeri Harrison, who also is transgendered. Both could face involuntary separation for coming out. The repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy only applied to gay and lesbian service members.