An 18-year-old female military recruit was reportedly made to share showers and sleeping arrangements with two male service members transitioning to women, as revealed by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) to Fox News.
The men still had their biological genitalia and were undergoing cross-sex hormone treatment. The young woman, fearing potential career repercussions, stayed silent about her discomfort. The situation reflects one of the challenges the military faces regarding the inclusion of transgender individuals.
“The respect that this young recruit should have received and the privacy that she should have had, she was being deprived of,” said Rounds, hinting at the possibility of such incidents contributing to declining recruitment goals. This information was initially relayed to Rounds by the South Dakota National Guard’s attorney general, expressing deep concern for the young recruit’s experience.
According to current Department of Defense (DoD) rules, transgender service members should use facilities that match their gender marker, a designation that doesn’t necessarily reflect biological sex.
In response to the incident, a DoD official emphasized their policy for all members to be treated with “dignity and respect,” urging any personnel feeling uncomfortable in shared spaces to voice concerns via their chain of command. The official added, “Commanders may employ reasonable accommodations to respect the privacy interests of Service members.”