FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2016

TLDEF Honors Memorial Day, Reiterates Call for End to Transgender Military Ban


New York, NY - This Memorial Day, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) pays tribute to the transgender service members who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and reaffirms its call for an end to the discriminatory prohibition on open transgender military service.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“As the nation reflects on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform this Memorial Day, we turn our attention to all of the transgender people who paid the ultimate price fulfilling their duty, even as they were barred from being their authentic selves and forced to serve in silence.

“The outdated and discriminatory transgender military ban continues to harm the thousands of transgender people serving in our armed forces. Last July, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced the formation of a six-month working group to study the ‘policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.’ More than nine-months later, the working group has made little progress towards lifting the ban. As the Department of Defense drags its feet on making a decision, the lives of transgender service members remain in limbo. Brave and dedicated transgender military personnel still must choose between serving their country and being their true selves. American taxpayers are paying a price in lost talent.

“This Memorial Day, we urge the Pentagon to take immediate action by ending this prohibition once and for all and taking all necessary steps to lift the ban throughout the military. 18 other countries, including our close allies Australia, Canada, England, and Israel, allow transgender people to serve openly. It is time for the United States to follow suit. Lifting the ban is long overdue.”

###