Pentagon Announces Plan to Ease Ban on Transgender Service in U.S. Military

July 13, 2015 6:30 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense today issued two directives that are expected to ease regulations that prohibit transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. military. Under current regulations, transgender people are automatically deemed medically unfit for duty and face separation from their unit if their gender identity is disclosed.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the formation of a six-month working group to study the impact of lifting the ban on unit readiness. Additionally, the announcement elevates the decision authority regarding administrative discharge for trans service members and those diagnosed with gender dysphoria to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad R. Carson.

The following comment can be attributed to Joshua Block, senior staff attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project:

“Trans people are willing and able to serve their country, and should be able to do so while remaining true to who they are. The Pentagon announcement confirms what we have known for a long time: outdated military regulations, which automatically label trans service members as medically unfit for duty, have no basis in reality. Over the past year, service branches have allowed some individuals to serve openly without risking immediate separation, but the regulations on the books keep those service members and their commanders in a constant state of administrative limbo. Everyone has been waiting for senior officials to provide clear leadership on this issue. It sounds like that leadership is coming – and not a moment too soon.”

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.