WASHINGTON Today, the nation's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT ) military organizations, OutServe-SLDN, the American Military Partner Association, and SPARTA issued statements responding to the news that the first out transgender recruit has signed up to join the U.S. Armed Forces. As first reported by CNN's Ryan Browne yesterday, "The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US military, a development made possible after a federal judge ruled that the military must accept transgender recruits."
Statement by Matt Thorn, President & CEO for OutServe-SLDN:
"This is a proud day, not just for our country gaining a qualified and dedicated individual who wants to volunteer in our armed forces, but also for this young individual who doesn't have to hide who they are to serve the country they love. We have worked exhaustively to witness this day because we know, as everyone has come to know, that any qualified individual who meets the standards of our armed forces should be allowed to serve regardless of their gender identity. However this fight is not over until the Trump-Pence Administration fully retreats from their bigoted pursuit of banning transgender individuals from military service. OutServe-SLDN & Lambda Legal will continue our legal challenge, with our plaintiffs including HRC, the American Military Partner Association and Gender Justice League. for as long as necessary to defend transgender service members and recruits who meet the standards and qualifications for their willingness to serve and defend our country."
Statement by Ashley Broadway-Mack, President of the American Military Partner Association:
"We are incredibly proud of this young trans American for stepping up to serve our great country, even as Donald Trump shamefully attempts to stop them from serving. This is a huge step forward as the world's finest fighting force welcomes into its ranks an out transgender recruit to serve alongside those who are willing to risk their lives for our freedom. At the end of the day, what truly matters with military service is if you are qualified and willing to serve not your gender identity."
Statement by Blake Dremann, President of SPARTA:
"Today the military is gaining a new recruit, but that happens every day. Today, it just happens to be the first individual who identifies openly as transgender. What we know is that the military is gaining a recruit who is qualified and meets the standards that have been set forth and that their gender identity is no longer a disqualifying factor. Our military needs capable, qualified and dedicated individuals as we continue to tackle potential threats and carry out our current missions. I am proud to have another service member to serve alongside me to help us to carry out those missions."
OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services 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 6,000 members 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 .
The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) is the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses, their families, and allies. A non-profit organization with more than 50,000 members and supporters, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for "modern military families." For more information, visit www.MilitaryPartners.org
Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. SPARTA's membership includes over 600 transgender Americans actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for "Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All." For more information, visit www.spartapride.org .