Navy and Marine Corps raise level of authority required to discharge transgender Sailors and MarinesOnline Only, Top Highlights, Around the Nation Saturday, July 4th, 2015
WASHINGTON – Thursday, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that the Secretary of the Navy has raised the level of authority required to discharge transgender Sailors and Marines. According to the memorandum dated July, 1, 2015, “Separations initiated under the provisions of the references for service members with a diagnosis or history of gender dysphoria, who identify themselves as transgender, or who have taken steps to externalize the condition, must be forwarded to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) for decision.”
“This important announcement brings the Navy and Marine Corps in line with the Army and the Air Force in the higher level of authority required to discharge a service member for being transgender,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “While this is welcome news and an important step in the right direction, it does not change the ultimate risk of being fired that transgender troops continue to face simply for being open and honest about who they are. We need the Department of Defense to expeditiously update the outdated regulations that continue to threaten and harm our transgender service members and their families.”
The U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force also recently made similar changes requiring a higher level review of discharge authority for transgender troops, and the Navy’s top enlisted Sailor has expressed support for open and honest service by transgender service members. Prior to this change in policy, the authority for discharge of Sailors and Marines diagnosed with gender dysphoria could be given from the local unit’s commanding officer.
In March of this year, AMPA launched an unprecedented joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm the outdated regulations inflict on military families. The report notes, “No one should be forced to choose between defending the country they love and being true to their authentic self. The outdated regulations serve no purpose and only dehumanize and prevent qualified and capable individuals from enlisting and serving. The ban perpetuates trauma to all those involved, both the service member and their family.”
Just prior to the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, a similar change requiring a higher level of approval for the removal of gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members was implemented.
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