Transgender women still have to register for the military draft, regardless of whether they have transitioned, Metro Weekly reported.
“U.S. citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register,” according to the Selective Service website. Per this stipulation, transgender men do not need to register for the draft upon turning 18.
The policy – though not new – has been highlighted after the Selective Service reminded parents on Twitter to have children register. That tweet included a link to the Selective Service website that describes who must register.
“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. Learn more about who needs to register,” the Oct. 7 tweet said.
Currently, trans people can serve in the U.S. military.
The White House last year suggested all Americans should be included in the draft, Fox News reported.
“The administration supports section 513 and the registration requirement for all citizens, which further ensures a military selective system that is fair and just,” the White House said last year when Congress considered, but did not pass, a National Defense Authorization Act provision requiring women to register. But Biden ultimately signed the bill without the requirement.
But the discrepancy between the Biden administration’s stance on recognizing trans women yet existing mandates that require them to register for the draft has been capitalized on by conservatives and right-wing media outlets seeking to deny the legitimacy of trans identities.
The Selective Service System site stated that the policy is based on the 2003 Military Selective Service Act (MSSA).
“Until Congress amends the MSSA or passes a separate law addressing transsexuals and gender identity, Selective Service must follow the intent of Congress when it required only males to register — the registration requirement is based on gender at birth,” the website stated. “In the event of a resumption of the draft, individuals born male who have changed their gender to female can file a claim for an exemption from military service if they receive an order to report for examination or induction.”
“In the nearly twenty years [since the passage of MSSA], we have changed,” Alleria Stanley, acting director of communications for SPARTA, said in an email. “We have grown as a society and increased our awareness of the diversity of our population in many forms.”
SPARTA is a transgender military advocacy group.
Stanley said: “It is likely, I suppose, that given how far in our past the most recent draft was, our everyday societal awareness that there even is the Selective Service is small. Thus, the tweet from the SSS. It is crucial for persons to still register, in accordance with the law as written, as there are consequences for failing to do so, including access to benefits such as financial aid. Updating the MSSA will be part of continuing comprehensive pushes for codifying diversity and inclusion for transgender persons throughout our society and military.”