PENTAGON ENDS BAN ON TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS
In an overdue, yet welcomed move, the Pentagon lifted its longstanding ban on transgender troops and began outlining how the military will begin allowing, and paying for, service members to transition, medically and officially, from one gender to another.
This is another historic step in the progress of transgender equality in America. So many members of our armed forces have been living a secret life or have been forced out of the military due to their transgender status. Many are decorated veterans performing admirably across the world. Now transgender troops will no longer be considered "medically unfit” for military service. We applaud this policy change and look forward to the Pentagon solidifying their transgender protocols. - Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director.
In the words of TransAction Advisory Council Member, Morgan Laisch:
As a Transgender Marine Veteran I took this announcement as a major win, I felt the emotional joy as well the sense of relief for our brothers and sisters in uniform. Also, I thought of how this announcement will affect global transgender rights and health care.
With a U.S. service force of 1.3 million active-duty and 825,000 reserve members, of those, the transgender service numbers are estimated at 7,000 active duty and 4,000 from the reserve ranks. We will see a renewed focus on transgender health care, which impact civilian medical care for transgender citizens. Transgender health care knowledge and awareness will be needed as transgender individuals get discharged and make their new life outside the military. This will also impact employers that have not yet created transgender training for their staffs and employees. We will also see engagement from discharged veterans to help with LGBT advocacy as they leave the military into the civilian workforce.
On June 30, 2016, Defense Secretary Carter made the now historic announcement lifting the ban on transgender persons serving openly in the ranks. This will close the gap within the LGBT community and provide complete inclusion in the United States Military. As the world’s leading military force with weaponry and prepositioning, we also are now among the world leaders with these progressive policies going into effect immediately.
The Secretary made several statements regarding the decision. One of them was stating ‘Otherwise qualified service members can no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied re-enlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender.’ Regarding the future of the Department of Defense he commented ‘We don't want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.’