Washington, DC – The Pentagon will announce on July 1 that it is officially lifting the ban on transgender Americans serving openly in the nation’s armed services, according to multiple news reports. The historic announcement comes after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the formation of a working group last year to look into how each branch of the armed services could modify existing policies to move toward open service – a process that was supposed to take only six months.
“This is a historic moment and a long overdue victory for the brave transgender Americans who sacrifice so much for their country,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans executive director. “Any American who wants to serve their country – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – should be able to do so. We commend the Pentagon and Secretary Carter for finally ending this discriminatory ban. Their actions will make our armed forces, and the brave men and women who serve, stronger and more cohesive.”
Approximately 150,000 transgender individuals have served or are serving in the armed forces, according to the Williams Institute. The Pentagon’s positive step forward comes on the heels of lawmakers in many states introducing bills specifically targeting the transgender community for discrimination.
“Transgender Americans have given their lives to defend our nation and our freedom. They and their families make extraordinary sacrifices every single day,” added McTighe. “These are the same people and families hurt most by hateful laws like HB 2. Lawmakers who support these types of discriminatory measures would be wise to remember that they impact real people – including veterans and active duty service members.”
About Freedom for All Americans
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.