Woman Discharged from Navy for Natural Hair

Credit: Shutterstock

While the military has revised it’s controversial hair policies, the organization is still in hot water – this time for discharging a Black woman who refused to cut her natural hair.

Jessica Sims had been a sailor for 12 years and has worn her hair in dreadlocks for nine.  In April, when officials ordered her to chop off her tresses or put on a wig, she refused and was written up for “serious misconduct.”

She was then discharged from the Navy last week for “failing to obey an order to cut off her natural hairstyle.”

“For the past couple weeks, not knowing what the Navy was going to do, if they were going to move forward with the discharge or keep me in, had me in a little limbo,” Sims told USA Today. “In the back of my head, I knew that they weren’t going to change, so it was more of just waiting for the date.”

Earlier this year, the military created new rules that banned twists, headbands, dreadlocks or multiple braids longer than a quarter-inch. After receiving much backlash, forces loosened restrictions to include a mix of hairstyles.

But according to Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, Sims hair still didn’t fit the bill. She said it was too bulky to fit under a gas mask.

However, Sims stated that she never had trouble wearing her uniform and her hairstyle didn’t violate regulations disallowing hair to protrude more than 2 inches.

Despite the conflict, the 32-year-old doesn’t regret her decision.

“I am happy that I took the stand that I did,” she said. “I still stand by it. I would do it again if I had to.”

(Woman with natural hair via Shutterstock