Washington D.C. - Anti-equality House members are using the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act to pass dangerous amendments targeting healthcare, gender-affirming care, education, and LGBTQ+ friendly services and resources. The numerous anti-equality measures threaten the health and safety of our troops and their families. The amendments seek to:
—Undermine protections against race and LGBTQ+ discrimination in the military
—Restrict abortion access
—Deny essential healthcare, including gender-affirming care, to transgender service members and military families
—Eliminate access to the Exceptional Family Member Program for transgender or gender nonconforming youth and family members thereby limiting healthcare access based on location
—Codify the prohibition on drag shows and use of drag queens as digital ambassadors
—Ban books that do not uphold the gender binary as well as disallow Pride Month instruction and/or celebration at DoD Education Activity schools
—Allowing only certain flags to be flown over military installations — thereby prohibiting LBGTQ+ Pride flags from being flown
The passage of an NDAA bill with the attached amendments threatens our most important operational advantage — our service members — well-being and resiliency. If service members are thinking and concerned about discrimination, do not feel welcome due to their sexual and gender identities, or are worried about the health and safety of their family members, then they will not be focused on their jobs. This reduces military readiness by affecting retention, morale, performance, operational readiness, recruitment, and overall health of our military.
Rachel Branaman, interim executive director for MMAA, stated:
"Over 400,000 women, an estimated several thousand transgender men, as well as individuals who identify as non-binary or a different gender serve on active duty or reserve components of the Armed Forces will be impacted by these amendments. There are also an estimated 50,000 transgender or gender-diverse adolescents who are military dependents. Efforts to limit LGBTQ+ protections are unaligned with what the country believes and supports. According to nonpartisan polling, nearly 8 in 10 Americans, including 65% of Republicans, back nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. It is imperative that the House and Senate prioritize removing anti-equality riders from the NDAA bill as well as the Defense Appropriations Bill and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Act Appropriations Bill."
Currently, there are 79,000+ Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual persons and 15,500+ Transgender persons actively serving in the military and more than a million LGB veterans and 163,000+ Transgender veterans. The LGBTQ community is highly represented within the armed forces with 5% of active duty personnel identifying as LGB and 1% identifying as transgender. For reference, 3% of Americans openly identify as LGB and .06% identify as transgender. Furthermore, studies show that 20% of transgender people have served in the military, which is double the percentage of the U.S. general population.
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) is the nation's largest organization for LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, and allies. Formed through the merger of the American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN, MMAA is a united voice for the LGBTQ military and veteran community. Find out more at www.ModernMilitary.org .