November 11, 2014

On Veterans Day, TLDEF Renews Call to End Ban on Open Transgender Military Service

New York, NY — The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund reflects on all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces on this Veterans Day, including transgender veterans, and reiterates its call for an end to the ban on open military service by transgender people.

Statement from Executive Director Michael Silverman

“On a day when we pay tribute to the brave veterans who risked their lives in the service of our nation, we pay special attention to the transgender men and women who sacrificed in silence, barred from being open about their true identities because of outdated and discriminatory medical regulations.

“As a Palm Center commission of experts concluded last year: ‘There is no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service.’ We agree, and we urge the Defense Department to update its antiquated rules and allow open military service by transgender people once and for all. The longer we wait, the more qualified and talented people we will lose and the more trauma we will create for those serving in the shadows.

“Let’s follow the lead of the 18 other countries that have opened their militaries to transgender people successfully, including Australia, Canada, England, and Israel, four of our closest allies. Just as our country finally put an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members in 2011, it is time to treat transgender people in the military with the dignity and respect they deserve by eliminating the policy that keeps them from serving as themselves.”