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Center for Veterans' Advancement Stands Ready to Support and Defend our Transgender Veterans

 

Public Counsel stands strongly opposed to the Trump administration's ban on transgender personnel serving openly in the military and is disheartened and disappointed by the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, lifting the injunctions on the ban issued by lower Federal District Courts. 

Prior to this ban, transgender service members openly served without fear of retribution after an extensive year-long study by RAND at the direction of the Defense Department.  This study showed that allowing transgender personnel to openly serve would have minimal to no impact on readiness, unit cohesion and effectiveness. In its announcement allowing transgender persons to serve in 2016, then-Defense Secretary Carter clearly stated the reason: the Defense Department wanted the best and most highly qualified persons to fill the job to defend this country without barriers unrelated to qualifications.  In reversing policy, there is neither fact nor evidence from the Trump administration that this no longer holds true.  The Administration rather bases its reasoning for the ban on limited data, and archaic and inconclusive assumptions.

After Tuesday's Supreme Court decision, any person of transgender experience who is newly seeking to enlist in the military may be barred from doing so based upon that experience.   Additionally, although the ban alleges to create an exception for those already-enlisted members of the military who are of transgender experience and who transitioned prior to the ban’s effective date, any person currently serving in the military who identifies with a gender different than the one assigned at birth and who now seeks to transition to that identity may be subject to immediate administrative discharge. Not only is this policy incongruous leading to inconsistent results (for example, personnel who completed gender transition prior to the ban, those who did not disclose their true gender out of fear, and those who agree to serve in their assigned sex at birth without medical support, may all be serving along-side each other), it is an affront to all persons who serve our country with honor and distinction.  There is never a "win" by disenfranchising members in uniform, whereas the destructive and destabilizing economic and societal impacts of this policy to both our military and to their families are far reaching.

It is more important than ever to support and advocate for those who are marginalized by an administration that acts with open hostility to the values that our country represents and our military defends.  As the legal battles continue in the courts, Public Counsel affirms its commitment to uphold the dignity and respect of all those who serve.   If a veteran received a less than honorable discharge as a result of gender identity, or if a veteran seeks to change their military documentation (e.g., DD Form 214) to conform to their gender identity, please contact Public Counsel's Center for Veterans’ Advancement for appropriate legal assistance at (213) 385-2977, ext. 301.