Pentagon officials confirmed Monday, Feb. 26, that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the U.S. military, as reported Monday afternoon by CNN’s Ryan Browne. Today (Tuesday, Feb. 27) officials with OutServe-SLDN, the American Military Partner Association and SPARTA applauded the progress.
A federal judge’s ruling last year pre-empted Donald Trump’s plan to reverse changes made by the Obama administration that allowed openly trans people to enlist and to serve.
Matt Thorn, president and CEO for OutServe-SLDN, said, “This is a proud day, not just for our country gaining a qualified and dedicated individual who wants to volunteer in our armed forces, but also for this young individual who doesn’t have to hide who they are to serve the country they love.”
LGBT advocates have “worked exhaustively to witness this day because we know, as everyone has come to know, that any qualified individual who meets the standards of our armed forces should be allowed to serve regardless of their gender identity,” Thorn continued. But, he noted, “this fight is not over until the Trump-Pence administration fully retreats from their bigoted pursuit of banning transgender individuals from military service.”
And, he added, OutServe-SLDN & Lambda Legal will continue their legal challenge to Trump’s trans ban, with plaintiffs including HRC, the American Military Partner Association and Gender Justice League, “for as long as necessary to defend transgender service members and recruits who meet the standards and qualifications for their willingness to serve and defend our country.”
Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, called the news “a huge step forward as the world’s finest fighting force welcomes into its ranks an out transgender recruit to serve alongside those who are willing to risk their lives for our freedom. At the end of the day, what truly matters with military service is if you are qualified and willing to serve — not your gender identity.”
SPARTA President Blake Dremann said, “What we know is that the military is gaining a recruit who is qualified and meets the standards that have been set forth and that their gender identity is no longer a disqualifying factor. Our military needs capable, qualified and dedicated individuals as we continue to tackle potential threats and carry out our current missions. I am proud to have another service member to serve alongside me to help us to carry out those missions.”
OutServe-SLDN is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services 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. For more information, visit OutServe-SLDN.org.
The American Military Partner Association, the largest organization of LGBT military spouses, their families and allies in the U.S., is a non-profit organization committed to education, advocacy and support for “modern military families.” For more information, visit MilitaryPartners.org.
SPARTA is an association of LGBT people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. SPARTA’s membership includes over 600 transgender Americans actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. For more information, visit SpartaPride.org.