HISTORIC: Department of Defense Lifts Ban on Open Service for Transgender Servicemembers

By Adam Polaski • June 30, 2016 • 1:55 pm

Today in a historic announcement from the United States Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the Pentagon will be ending its discriminatory policy prohibiting open service for transgender Americans.


So many transgender Americans already proudly serve in our country’s military and are putting their lives on
the line to keep us safe and free. The policy announced today by Sec. Carter allows transgender people to serve openly and with honor and integrity. A Defense Department study concluded that transgender service members do not harm unit cohesion, and allowing them to fulfill their duty will have no effect on military readiness or military budgets.

Freedom for All Americans executive director Matt McTighe said last week, when news of the imminent policy change broke:

“This is a historic moment and a long overdue victory for the brave transgender Americans who sacrifice so much for their country. Any American who wants to serve their country – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – should be able to do so. We commend the Pentagon and Secretary Carter for finally ending this discriminatory ban. Their actions will make our armed forces, and the brave men and women who serve, stronger and more cohesive.”

The United States military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people today. Updating the Department of Defense policy to ensure these patriotic Americans do not face discrimination allows them to serve openly and with integrity, and demonstrates that transgender people – like all Americans – should be judged for their qualifications, nothing more, nothing less.

McTighe continued last week: “Transgender Americans have given their lives to defend our nation and our freedom. They and their families make extraordinary sacrifices every single day. These are the same people and families hurt most by hateful laws like HB 2. Lawmakers who support these types of discriminatory measures would be wise to remember that they impact real people – including veterans and active duty service members.”

This policy announced today is an important update for transgender Americans who have put their lives on the line for our freedoms – but we still have more to do to ensure transgender service members, veterans, and civilians are treated fairly. That’s why Freedom for All Americans is proud to work with our partners at the state and national level to ensure that no one faces discrimination for who they are or who they love.

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