In 2015, the Pentagon made a stunning announcement, declaring that the ban on transgender service members would come to an end in 2016.
“Transgender Americans have every right to serve their country openly and honestly, and for far too long, this discriminatory ban has robbed them of the dignity of doing so,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The time for ending the military’s longstanding ban on transgender service is long overdue. Values that represent the foundation of our armed services--including integrity, respect and courage--will become more true when these outdated regulations are finally updated. We welcome reports that the Pentagon is planning to announce it will end the ban, and we will carefully review their plan for doing so.”
While the Department of Defense (DOD) announced the establishment of a working group to study the “policy and readiness implications” of allowing transgender service members to serve openly, it is expected that the ban will be lifted in the new year.
There are approximately 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the DOD the largest employer of transgender people in America.

Currently, these courageous service members are forced to serve in silence by DOD medical regulations prohibiting their service. These regulations are outdated and out of step with current medical practice. Unlike the statutory ban that interfered with lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from serving (known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) the ban on transgender military service is regulatory and only requires action by the DOD to update.
HRC will also continue to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that transgender veterans receive respectful, culturally competent support and care that is compatible with accepted standards of medical and mental health practice. Additionally, HRC is committed to ensuring that transgender veterans can update their official service record.
Counting down to 2016, HRC is celebrating our greatest milestones and victories in 2015. It has been another incredible year for LGBT equality and we could not have done it without you -- our members, readers and supporters--and we look forward to continuing our work in 2016. Stay tuned for more highlights from 2015.

Filed under: Military, Transgender, Community

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