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NEWS | March 25, 2022

MEDCoE conducts listening session focused on Army’s transgender policy

By Tish Williamson U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Director of Communications

In advance of International Transgender Day of Visibility March 31, the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence dedicated this month's “Voice to the Command” listening session to a discussion on the U.S. Army's Transgender policy.

The MEDCoE Command Team of Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier and J.M. Harmon III, hosted the event that was attended by more than 150 people virtually via Teams and in-person in Blesse Auditorium, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, March 24.

MEDCoE established the Voice to the Command as a recurring listening session on a wide variety of topics centered on diversity, inclusion and living the Army Values in June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd while in police custody sparked international outrage and opened conversations about systemic racism.

The March Voice to the Command was an opportunity to highlight the nuanced implications of enforcing Army Directive 2021-22, “Army Service by Transgender Persons and Persons with Gender Dysphoria”, published June 22, 2021, while allowing participants to express feelings or personal experiences on the topic. 

Lt. Col. Lamisa Shaw, MEDCoE G1 and the MEDCoE proponent for the Army’s People First Strategy, moderated the event and set the ground rules for attendees.

“This is a safe space so you should feel free to voice your opinion as long as we continue to treat each other with dignity and respect,” Shaw said, “especially when or if your opinion conflicts with the Army’s current policy of inclusion.”

Capt. Chad Beach, the MEDCoE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Center officer in charge and lead MEDCoE trainer on the Army's Transgender Policy, led the question-and-answer portion of the session. 

Beach also reviewed vignettes he wanted to highlight from the training that he has seen from training over 100 MEDCoE leaders and supervisors on the policy.

Attendees also got the opportunity to hear from Maj. Alivia Stehlik, an Army physical therapist and transgender woman, who shared her personal story of transitioning while in the Army while attached to a brigade combat team. 

The MEDCoE command team directed that all MEDCoE Soldiers and civilians will receive training and education on the Army's Transgender Policy by April 22, 2022. 

To learn more about the Army's Transgender and Inclusion Policies, visit https://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2021/06/25/.