The U.S. Department of Defense announced today that its ban on open military service by transgender men and women will end in July.
“This final remnant of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will now be put to rest,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D., director of the Trans/Gender Non-Confirming Justice Project of the National LGBTQ Task Force.
“This decision is a great victory for the many trans people who have served and sacrificed in the military over the years,” Rodríguez-Roldán continued. “They also served in fear of being discharged from the service for simply being who they are. Thankfully this now will change. We look forward to hearing more implementation details.”
The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus also issued a statement applauding the decision to lift the ban. Roddy Flynn, executive director of the caucus, said, “The entire LGBT Equality Caucus thanks the White House and the Pentagon for this historic policy change. The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an important step forward, but LGBT equality is not complete if the transgender community is left behind.”
Flynn added, “This country has the greatest fighting force in the world because we place readiness and security above arbitrary exclusion or discriminatory policies. Transgender service members should not have to hide their identity to serve their country. For too long these courageous soldiers have been forced to serve in silence. Thanks to this new policy, we will have a stronger, more focused and more just military.”
Flynn said the caucus thanks Secretary Ash Carter for “his vision and leadership in bringing this discriminatory ban to an end.”
Retired Navy SEAL Kristen Beck and retired staff sergeant Shane Ortega, national transgender military liaisons with the Military Freedom Coalition, issued a joint statement: “We are elated at the news of the pending repeal of the transgender military ban and are thankful to everyone who worked so hard to see this day come to pass. We look forward to working with our military brothers and sisters to see successful implementation. We march forward into an age of greater equality.”