Washington, DC — Three transgender veterans of the U.S. armed forces have filed requests with the Board for the Correction of Military Records ( BCMR ) asking that their DD214 discharge paperwork be re-issued identifying their correct gender. Their request follows a November report from The National LGBT Bar Association's Military Law Working Group, outlining clear legal precedent for allowing such changes. The veterans are represented by Edwin G. Oswald, a partner with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Stephen C. Lessard, a member of the Working Group and an attorney with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Despite the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," transgender military veterans still face discrimination because their military records do not match their current form of identification. Veterans are frequently asked to provide their discharge paperwork in order to obtain benefits such as medical care, educational opportunities, preferential status while seeking employment, shopping on military bases and receiving benefits for dependents.
"The veterans in our filing have records that reflect the bravery and distinction of their service, and those records should also reflect who they are," said D'Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar. "Our Military Law Working Group report clearly outlines how, and why, the U.S. government can move forward on their request. Doing so would be a critical step forward in dismantling the discriminatory policies that continue to impact our service personnel, and in righting a legal wrong."
The three veterans represented by Oswald and Lessard and The LGBT Bar are retired Naval Surface Warfare Officer, and Naval Academy Graduate, Paula Neira; Retired Army First Sergeant ( Promotable ) Dayna Walker; and Retired Army Major Evan Young. Neira graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy and served in mine warfare combat during Operation Desert Storm. Walker has over 25 years of military service experience, serving in various capacities as a Military Police Officer and within the United States Army Recruiting Command. Major Young held positions at the 369th Adjutant General Battalion as a company executive officer and at the Adjutant General School as a special project officer.
A decision from the BCMR is expected later this Spring. Copies of the Military Law Working Group Report, outlining the legal path forward for issuance of correct DD214 paperwork, is available online at www.LGBTBar.org .
The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists, and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The Association promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.