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Sec Def Ash Carter announces end to ban on open transgender service
From press releases
2016-06-30

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From the Palm Center

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Palm Center, an independent research center publishing state-of-the-art scholarship on transgender personnel in the military, lauded Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter's announcement today that the Pentagon will allow transgender Americans to serve openly and honestly.

"With today's historic decision, the US military has taken a sweeping step to advance readiness," said Aaron Belkin, Palm Center director and a leading expert on the military service of LGBT Americans. "In ending discrimination that had no basis in medical science or military necessity, Secretary Carter is enhancing readiness as well as core values of honesty and integrity, an enormous accomplishment with a durable impact on all service members."

Belkin added: "With the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' and the elimination of the combat exclusion rule on women, today's historic step to end transgender discrimination completes the Obama administration's successful effort to strengthen our armed forces by ensuring that service is based on people's merit and not their personal identity."

Belkin noted that the transgender ban, which affects an estimated 12,800 troops currently in service, "crumbled with record speed" in comparison to the long battles to end discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation.

From OutServe-SLDN

( WASHINGTON ) June 30, 2016 — Today Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the recommendations from the working group formed last summer on the lifting of the ban on open transgender service. This announcement includes recommendations, plans and timeline to when transgender service members will fully be able to serve openly and authentically.

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn issued the following statement:

"OutServe-SLDN applauds and welcomes Secretary Carter's announcement today.

Every day, an estimated 15,500 dedicated, proud and courageous transgender service members have been forced to live quietly and serve in righteous indignation, anticipating the end of the discriminatory ban on open trans service to be lifted in the Armed Forces.

Transgender service members have been awaiting this announcement for months and years: it has long been overdue. Secretary Carter, with his statement, has given a breath of relief and overdue respect to transgender service members who have been and are currently serving our country with undeniable professionalism, the utmost respect and illustrious courage, with the caveat to do so silently. Today, we mark history, once again, by ending the need to serve in silence. Today, we say ( in the words of Attorney General Loretta Lynch ) "we see you" and regardless of your gender identity we welcome you to serve this country with honor, dignity, courage and above all openly and honestly.

It would not have been possible, today, without the many voices who have championed open Transgender service. We applaud their tenacity, strength and perseverance including OutServe-SLDN Hall of Heroes Inductee, Aaron Belkin. It was his ( Aaron's ) effort as director of the Palm Center, which conducted several studies determining there was "no compelling medical reason" to exclude transgender Americans from military service that significantly brought us to this point.

While we read through all of the details, we do believe that this recommendation from the working group is and will be an inclusive policy for transgender service members to serve openly and authentically.

We know that this announcement isn't an immediate relief. However, publicly announcing the timeline and official end date of the ban puts a light at the end, of what has been a very long and sometimes painful tunnel, for thousands of transgender service members.

OutServe-SLDN looks forward to working with the Pentagon on implementation and the official end of the ban. We also announce today that we will expand our legal service resources for transgender veterans who wish to update their DD214s with name changes and other record updating in addition our legal services will work with transgender individuals who have been separated and wish to re-enter the military."

OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is a 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., Visit www.outserve-sldn.org .

From the American Military Partner Association

WASHINGTON — Today at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a much anticipated end to the ban on open service by transgender service members. The announcement comes more than a year after Secretary Carter promised that the Department of Defense (DoD) would update the outdated regulations which prevent open service by transgender service members and the launch of a working group to assess the impact of the change and work out the details.

"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 Ashley Broadway-Mack. "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!"

With the announcement today, Secretary Carter said, "This is the right thing to do for our people and for the force," Carter said. "We're talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can't allow barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission."

In March of 2015, 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, "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."

There are an estimated 15,500 transgender service members currently serving.

The American Military Partner Association is a resource and support network for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and veterans. www.militarypartners.org .

From SPARTA

Washington, DC — SPARTA, the largest organization of actively-serving transgender military members today celebrated the Pentagon's announcement confirming that trangender Americans will be able to serve their country on equal footing with other service members.

"Secretary Carter today fulfills his promise that every American who is qualified to serve will be allowed to serve, said former Army Captain Sue Fulton, President of SPARTA. "The thousands of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — and their commanders — have one less burden on their shoulders today. We are grateful to the military and civilian leaders in the Department of Defense who worked so hard to get this right."

"Thanks to our leaders, this policy change allows transgender service members to continue to serve the greatest military in the world, fully acknowledged by their fellow troops," said Navy Lieutenant Blake Dremann, SPARTA Board member. Dremann serves in the Pentagon.

"I have always been proud to be a Soldier," said Army Captain Jennifer Peace, "but the inclusion of transgender service members makes me even more proud to serve."

"As a retired Army sergeant major, Airborne Infantry, and a transgender woman, I am proud of our leadership and our Armed Forces today," said SGM (retired) Jennifer Marie Long. "Transgender Americans like me are competent, capable soldiers, and now they no longer have to pretend to be someone else."

Brynn Tannehill, primary author of SPARTA's comprehensive guide to transgender military service (link below), had this to say: "This has been long fought for, and long-awaited. Through it all, members of SPARTA have exemplified the honor and professionalism which our country has come to expect from its military. I am proud of what they have accomplished, and look forward to seeing all they accomplish going forward serving openly with dignity, honor, and pride."

Tannehill is an Annapolis graduate was a Lt. Commander in the US Navy.

Here is a link to our previously released Frequently Asked Questions on this issue.

Here is a link to a 147-page Implementation Guide outlining each of the issues in detail, with supporting references to the many other military and similar organizations that have successfully integrated transgender people. This document was provided to the Department of Defense over a year ago, to provide information and education.

From NCLR

(Washington, D.C., June 30, 2016)—Today, the Pentagon made a historic announcement that it is lifting its ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military. The announcement, made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, comes five years after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that allowed lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to openly serve the country as members of the military. The ban is lifted effective immediately.

Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.

"We welcome this historic announcement. Transgender servicemembers have long served their country with honor and courage. As the repeal of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy has shown, military readiness is enhanced, not diminished, when our armed forces end discriminatory personnel policies. While some questions about the details of the new policy remain, we hope the armed services will move quickly and decisively to implement the goals of the new policy, which are to permit transgender servicemembers to serve openly and without discrimination."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org .

From U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement in response to Defense Secretary Ash Carter's announcement that transgender individuals will be allowed to serve openly in the United States military:

"Today, our nation has taken another important step forward by ensuring that qualified, transgender Americans can openly serve the country they love. Breaking down this barrier is a historic action for transgender service members, who will no longer be forced to serve in silence. I applaud Secretary Carter for his leadership in taking this step to make our Armed Forces stronger and staying true to our American values of fairness and equality for all."

See earlier related coverage at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Palm-Center-statement-on-military-seeking-more-time-to-lift-trans-ban/55730.html


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