( Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2019 ) — Earlier today, in a joint and bipartisan effort, the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced parallel Bills to protect the service of our transgender service members and hopeful recruits. When passed, these efforts will make open and authentic service for our transgender siblings the law of the land.
In the Senate, efforts were led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-NY ), who recently announced her candidacy for President and invited Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann to this year's State of the Union. She was joined by Senators Jack Reed ( D-RI ) and Susan Collins ( R-ME ).
In the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Jackie Speier ( D-CA,14 ), who invited Air Force Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland to this year's State of the Union, led the efforts. She was joined by Representatives John Katko ( R-NY,24 ), Danny Davis ( D-IL,7 ), Anthony Brown ( D-MD,4 ), and Joe Kennedy III ( D-MA,4 ).
OutServe-SLDN, the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ), and SPARTA, the nation's three key advocacy and support organizations for our LGBTQ military, veteran, and military family communities, issued the following responses:
"We applaud these Senators and Congressmen for their commitment to ensuring open and authentic service for our transgender siblings-in-arms," said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins. "For the last two-and-a-half years, these selfless patriots have proven time and again that they are not only qualified to accomplish the mission, but that our Armed Forces are more efficient and effective because of their authenticity. It is time that we, as a nation, honor the service of these service members and hopeful recruits by ensuring baseless and discriminatory rationalizations not be allowed to define military policy."
"Thousands of qualified, patriotic transgender Americans raised their right hands and pledged an oath to defend the United States by serving in the military," said American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) President Ashley Broadway-Mack. "Instead of being singled out by the Trump-Pence administration for discrimination, these brave, highly trained warriors deserve our nation's utmost support and thanks. We are grateful for Senator Gillibrand, Congresswoman Speier, and the members of Congress who are standing behind our nation's trans service members and making clear that any qualified American should be able to serve regardless of their gender identity."
"We support all efforts to ensure that our military attracts and retains the best and the brightest our nation has to offer. To get there, we need to welcome with open arms all the diversity that this country has to offer. Transgender service members are a part of that tapestry and have already shown just how well they thread together with other service members in support of our defense. Codifying their inclusion in the Armed Forces is a welcome step in the right direction., said SPARTA Communications Director Bryan Bree Fram.
—From a press release
OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is the largest non-profit, legal services, advocacy and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 60,000 subscribers around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org .