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Pentagon Delays New Transgender-Inclusive Recruitment Policy by Six Months
From press releasees
2017-06-30

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From a press release:

Palm Center Director Concerned by Continuation of Military's Transgender Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In response to Defense Secretary James Mattis's decision to delay implementing rules allowing transgender applicants to join the military, Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin released the following statement:

"Secretary Mattis's decision to prolong the enlistment ban will have the effect of requiring applicants to lie in order to join the military, as was the case under 'don't ask, don't tell.' That makes no sense because, as predicted by all of the research, transgender military service has been a success.

From a press release:

OutServe-SLDN responds to DoD's Six-Month Delay in Transgender Recruitment Policy

( WASHINGTON ) June 30, 2017 — OutServe-SLDN, the nation's leading and largest LGBT military & veterans issued the following statement today, in response to the Pentagon's statement, first reported by the Washington Post, that there will be a six-month delay in the enactment of policies allowing qualified, transgender individuals to enter military service.

"Under former Secretary Carter's guidance, the services were directed to develop policies which would allow transgender individuals to join the military, a privilege they are currently denied. Over the past several months, our team has worked closely with Pentagon officials and allied organizations to ensure necessary policy changes related to accessions were ready for a timely deployment by July 1st. We remain confident that the services are equipped to support this final piece of transgender military service and there should be no delay in its implementation.

We are disappointed that the Department of Defense has chosen to delay, by six-months, implementation of the recruitment policy, thus denying qualified transgender individuals the opportunity to enlist, attend ROTC or enroll in one of the military academies.

Transgender service members have been serving, openly and authentically, since October 2016 with no impact on readiness. It is time to full lift the ban on transgender service by implementing this final piece by implementing the accessions policy. This delay is a disservice to the transgender community and to our military as a whole.

While we cannot now avoid this six-month delay, we expect the full and unequivocal implementation of this accessions policy for transgender individuals at the end of these six-months. We reiterate that the services are prepared for transgender individuals and assert that delays beyond January 2018 will have a negative impact on military readiness—-that we cannot tolerate."

OutServe-SLDN estimates that there are more than 14,000 transgender individuals currently serving in our armed services. Many of them doing so openly as a result of the retention policy, as part of the lifting the ban on transgender service, last year. Transgender individuals are currently serving and this unnecessary postponement of the accessions policy has no impact on them. However, it does affect the many transgender individuals that are standing by, ready to report to duty.

OutServe-SLDN's legal team will continue to provide any and all advocacy and legal assistance required to ensure the transgender community is able to openly serve our country. Individuals seeking assistance may contact the legal department directly, at 800-538-7418 or legal@outserve.org .

For the past year, transgender troops have been serving openly and have been widely praised by their Commanders, as is the case in 18 allied militaries around the world including Israel and Britain. Yet members of Congress are denigrating the value of military service by transgender troops, and Service Chiefs are pressuring Secretary Mattis to continue the transgender enlistment ban despite having no new arguments or data to back up their long-discredited assertions.

In light of the success of transgender military service, the extensive research confirming that inclusive policy promotes readiness, and the sad history of 'don't ask, don't tell,' loyally-serving transgender troops deserve to know whether Secretary Mattis stands by the claim he made at his confirmation hearing that LGBT troops can indeed serve in a 'lethal' military. Stonewalling on full inclusion will, just like 'don't ask, don't tell,' compromise military readiness."

From a press release:

Pentagon Delays New Transgender-Inclusive Recruitment Policy by Six Months

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to Secretary of Defense James Mattis' decision to delay by six months the implementation of the final piece of a policy that allows qualified transgender people to serve in the armed forces. While transgender service members serve openly today thanks to a change implemented last year under the previous administration, a final piece of the policy that will allow qualified transgender people to enter the military has yet to go into effect. Implementation had previously been scheduled to go into place by July 1, 2017.

"Once this important policy is implemented, it will strengthen our military by allowing qualified and talented transgender people to enlist or commission," said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. "Each day that passes without the policy in place restricts the armed forces' ability to recruit the best and the brightest, regardless of gender identity. We are disappointed in this needless delay because the thousands of highly trained and qualified transgender service members openly and proudly serving our nation today have proven that what matters is the ability to accomplish the mission, not their gender identity."

The Associated Press reported last week that the service chiefs were recommending the six month delay to Secretary Mattis in order to "gauge if currently serving transgender troops are facing problems and what necessary changes the military bases might have to make."

On June 30, 2016, the Pentagon lifted the ban on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military, joining eighteen other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel, which allow transgender people to serve openly in their militaries. Immediately following the policy's announcement, transgender people already serving in the military were able to do so openly and were no longer able to be discharged simply because of their gender identity. The final piece of this policy which has been delayed by six months will allow qualified transgender recruits to enter the military.

The Pentagon issued the 2016 directive after a year-long intensive working group that studied the implications of transgender military service. A study sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of RAND's National Defense Research Institute found that there would be minimal health care costs and negligible readiness implications associated with allowing transgender people to serve in the military — contrary to the rhetoric and unfounded claims from some anti-LGBTQ activists.

According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense ( DoD ) the largest employer of transgender people in America. Like their lesbian, gay, and bisexual counterparts, transgender people were previously barred from serving openly in the United States military. However, unlike the repealed statutory ban that prohibited lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from serving openly ( known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ), the ban on transgender military service was regulatory and only required action by the Secretary of Defense.

Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. As transgender service members risk their lives around the world—sometimes in combat zones—the previous ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed. This had negative implications for our nation's military readiness. A service member who is able to be open and honest about their gender identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission. In addition, the military was discharging highly trained and talented transgender service members on the basis of regulations that were nearly forty years out of date.


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