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Advocacy groups praise DoD’s decision on lifting of ban on transgender military service

LGBT and human rights advocacy groups reacted swiftly and favorably to today’s Department of Defense’s (DoD) decision to lift the ban on transgender people openly serving in the military.

As the U.S.’s largest employer, the DOD’s decision today will allow the approximately 15, 000 transgender active and reserve service members (as well as countless veterans) to be their authentic selves at work and reap the full benefits of their service.

Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign:

“Today, we join in celebration with the thousands of brave transgender patriots who will now be able to serve our nation openly and with the deep respect they deserve.  Ending this discriminatory policy not only brings long-overdue recognition to transgender service members, it also strengthens our military and our nation. Our military will now be able to recruit the very best candidates, and retain highly-trained, talented transgender service members once facing discharge for no other reason than who they are. History will remember Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for his leadership in taking this historic and necessary step forward.”

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of The American Military Partner Association:

“Words cannot express how much this announcement means to so many of our transgender service members and their families — brave men and women who have proudly served our nation in silence for far too long,” said AMPA President. “We are incredibly grateful to Secretary Carter for bringing this promise to fruition. While we still have progress to make, today is truly historic and our military families will be stronger as a result of these critically important and long overdue changes. This historic change means that I can finally serve openly and proudly as who I am — a soldier who loves my country and just happens to be transgender,” said AMPA member Nick Melvin, who is currently stationed in Hawaii. “A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder. I can continue serving my nation and support my family, which means the world!”

Selisse Berry, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates:

“I am so thrilled that the oldest government agency, the Department of Defense (DOD), recognizes the valuable contributions of transgender service members to our country’s security and will finally lift the ban on transgender service. Together, we begin a new chapter for the nation and our defense.”

Roddy Flynn, LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director:

“The entire LGBT Equality Caucus thanks the White House and the Pentagon for this historic policy change. The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an important step forward, but LGBT equality is not complete if the transgender community is left behind.  This country has the greatest fighting force in the world because we place readiness and security above arbitrary exclusion or discriminatory policies.  Transgender service members should not have to hide their identity to serve their country.  For too long these courageous soldiers have been forced to serve in silence.  Thanks to this new policy, we will have a stronger, more focused and more just military. We want to thank Secretary Ash Carter for his vision and leadership in bringing this discriminatory ban to an end.  We are eager to review the final policy change when it is released by the Department of Defense.”

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

“Today’s victory is a tremendous one for a nation that once denied women, African Americans, and gay and lesbian individuals the opportunity to serve. An integrated military, now inclusive of all LGBT service members, is not only a sound military approach but a moral imperative for our nation. This was true in 1948, when this country first allowed women and African-Americans to serve in the military; in 2011, when the ban was lifted on gay and lesbian service members; and remains true today.

Attracting and retaining all talented service members—regardless of their gender identity—strengthens our military readiness. Updating military 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. This policy is an important step forward for our country as we recognize and honor transgender American service members and the patriotic contributions they have made. But we still have more to do to ensure that transgender Americans –service members, veterans, and civilians—are treated fairly in all aspects of American life.”

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:

“Today’s announcement that the Pentagon will lift the ban on transgender troops is an affirmation of what has always been true: transgender service members are committed to serving and protecting the nation and are best able to do so when they are free from fear of harassment for being who they are.

For decades, transgender service members have been subjected to persecution and discharge from the Armed Forces.  Instead of welcoming those willing to sacrifice for their country, the Defense Department, like much of society generally, shunned transgender individuals. Such practices did nothing to further our national security. Rather, our nation was weakened by policies that were discriminatory and painful. As welcome as today’s step by the Defense Department is, it also reminds us that in 30 states, it remains legal to fire employees because of their gender identity. And in schools nationwide, transgender children face the torment of bullying. We are hopeful that the example shown by the military will lead other institutions to be similarly inclusive. We also call on Congress to pass the Equality Act, to ensure that gender identity and sexual orientation are included among the classes protected from discrimination under federal law.”

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=71802

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016. Filed under Around the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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