Trans women must sign up for US military draft under ‘irrational and outdated’ rule

US Army soldiers participate in a Family Day ceremony while attending basic training at Fort Jackson.

Trans women are still legally required to sign up for a potential US military draft despite being targeted toward men.

The policy, which has been in effect for some time, was brought back to public attention after the US Selective Service System (SSS) issued a reminder to required applicants in a tweet on Friday (7 October).

“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 the SSS,” the statement read while linking to a registration page.

The page clarifies that transgender women who were assigned male at birth (AMAB) are required to register, while trans men who were assigned female at birth (AFAB) are not required to register.

It adds that, while transgender students are still obligated to register, they can call a number to discuss “registration requirements”, which could include exemptions.

“Individuals who have changed their gender to male will be asked to complete a Status Information Letter (SIL) request form and provide a copy of their birth certificate.”

The policy, which has been present in SSS legislation for several years, shocked many political activists and organisations, with some calling for an immediate update or removal of the clause.

“F**k the Selective Service System and its transphobic, bio-essentialist inclusion of trans women as men,” one user said.

Another commented on a letter they had received, saying: “Being trans isn’t fun anymore, I just got my Selective Service System letter, they’re going to put me in the trenches.”

The newly rediscovered policy also gave a mass of transphobes the excuse to start airing bigoted rhetoric, claiming that the policy clearly shows that trans women are men despite the fact that policies can, shockingly, be wrong sometimes.

The Selective Service System created controversy in 2020

This isn’t the first time the policy has turned heads and caused a massive backlash.

In 2020, the National Center for Transgender Equality demanded that congress retract the clause, arguing that it creates “needless hardships” for trans and intersex individuals.

“Congress should either eliminate the Selective Service System or follow the commission’s recommendation that it be completely gender neutral,” it said in a March 2020 tweet.

A congressionally mandated commission studying the SSS gender policies recommended making the registration system gender-neutral in a 25 March 2020 report.

After reviewing the institution, it found that maintaining a specifically gendered draft was harmful to both trans and intersex individuals and that the SSS should either switch to a gender-neutral approach or be removed entirely.

“We welcome the commission’s recognition that a nationwide system based on blanket gender rules and stereotypes is irrational and outdated,” National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling said.

“The current system is confusing and creates needless hardships for many.”