From the American Military Partner Association
WASHINGTON - Today, at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT ) pride month observance for the Department of Defense ( DoD ) at the Pentagon, Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense has "completed the process for updating its military equal opportunity policy to include sexual orientation, ensuring that the department, like the rest of the federal government, treats sexual orientation-based discrimination the same way it treats discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, age, and national origin."
The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military families, praised the long awaited news and urged Secretary Carter to also take action for the estimated 15,500 transgender service members who are still unable to serve openly and honestly due to outdated regulations.
"This long overdue and critical change to the military equality opportunity program will help ensure that LGB service members are treated fairly with the dignity and respect they deserve, " said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. "But it's incredibly important to note that we absolutely cannot leave our transgender service members behind. We again urge Secretary Carter to also order a full and comprehensive review to update the outdated regulations that prevent transgender service members from serving openly and honestly. It's just as important to our LGBT military families that these same non-discrimination protections be extended to our transgender service members."
AMPA has long advocated for these important changes to be made. Most people assume that with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell ( DADT ) in September 2011, the LGBT community achieved full equality in the military. The repeal only applied to LGB service members, and it meant that they could serve openly without fear of being discharged. It did not, however, mean they were provided access to the military equal opportunity program in order to address harassment or discrimination. The repeal failed to include binding non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members in the military equal opportunity programs. The repeal of DADT also did not change the outdated regulations that continue to prevent transgender service members from serving openly and honestly.
For more information about the American Military Partner Association and LGBT military families, please visit our home on the web at www.MilitaryPartners.org .
The American Military Partner Association, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America's LGBT service members and veterans. Based in Washington DC, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for our modern military families.
View related article at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Pentagon-to-add-non-discrimination-protections-for-gay-lesbian-troops/51622.html .
Secretary of Defense speaks at Pentagon Pride, makes no mention of trans military service
Washington, DC The Secretary of Defense spoke at today's Pentagon event commemorating LGBT Pride Month, but failed to mention transgender military service, despite mounting support for change to the decades-old policies.
"Words of inclusion are empty without action, action that is long overdue. This was a perfect time for the Secretary to announce, at the very least, an expedited policy update and/or uniformly elevating transgender discharge authority to the Pentagon. With thousands of transgender service members and their commanders anticipating action, on a day when Secretary Carter spoke specifically about LGBT issues, he ignored them,"
said Allyson Robinson, former Army officer and SPARTA Director of Policy. "This is a slap in the face to those service members and their units and leaders who support them."
In the past few days, the New York Times editorial board has accompanied a feature on soldiers, an airman, and a Naval officer with a strong call for allowing transgender people to serve openly; an Army doctor with the rank of Major came out, reporting that her gender was officially changed in the Army's medical system; and the American Medical Association approved a resolution that there is no medical justification for excluding transgender people Sent from my iPhone military service, calling the policy "outdated."
"The Air Force's recent clarification of policy was welcome, but signaled a need for leadership from the top to provide consistent, DOD-wide guidance," continued Robinson. "At this point, there is so much confusion in the field that questions about individual service members are being floated from company commanders in the field all the way to the Pentagon. It's long past time for a leadership on this issue. The policy must change."