us_air_forceThe U.S. Air Force has officially changed a policy regarding dismissal of transgender service members.

Removal of a transgender service member from the Air Force must now be “reviewed by the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council for recommendation, and then to the [Air Force Review Boards Agency] AFRBA director, for decision.”

In a press release, Daniel Sitterly, the principal deputy assistant Secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs said, “Though the Air Force policy regarding involuntary separation of gender dysphoric Airmen has not changed, the elevation of decision authority to the director, Air Force Review Boards Agency, ensures the ability to consistently apply the existing policy.”

“This is a huge step in the right direction for our transgender airmen and their families, but they are still threatened by outdated regulations preventing them from serving openly and honestly,” said American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “We need Secretary Carter to order a comprehensive review of these outdated regulations. Transgender service members sacrifice so much for our nation, and they should be able to serve openly, honestly, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. A service member’s gender identity has nothing to do with the ability to get the job done.”

The U.S. Army also recently made similar changes requiring a higher level review of discharge authority for transgender troops. These changes are similar to the changes made toward removing gay and lesbian troops just before the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”