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Air Force Secretary supports lifting military ban on trans service
From American Military Partner Association, Palm Center and ACLU press releases
2014-12-10


WASHINGTON — Today, the American Military Partner Association responded to the news that the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, supports lifting the U.S. military's current ban on service by transgender people. As reported by USA Today, Secretary James said, "From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve."

"What matters is the ability to get the job done and complete the mission, not someone's gender identity," said AMPA President, Ashley Broadway. "There is no valid reason for the outdated regulations preventing transgender people from serving openly and honestly to remain in place. The current policy not only impacts the estimated 15,500 transgender service members currently serving in silence, but their families as well. No military family should have to endure the hardships and damage this policy causes. The Defense Department should move quickly to update this and other outdated policies impacting LGBT military families."

The journey towards full LGBT equality in the Defense Department is far from complete. The Defense Department has not yet updated significantly outdated policies impacting LGBT service members and their families. In addition to the outdated regulations prohibiting open and honest service by transgender people, over three years after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the Defense Department has still not added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program for service members.

Read more story below....

Earlier this month, the Palm Center release a report highlighting changes that had been made already at the Department level that could impact the ban on transgender service. According to the report, "On August 5, 2014, the Department of Defense ( DOD ) issued a new regulation that weakens the prohibition against transgender personnel in military service and requires reassessment of the policy, even though the ban remains in effect. 1 DOD Instruction ( DODI ) 1332.18, Disability Evaluation System ( DES ), eliminates a component of the regulatory architecture of the transgender ban, as DOD no longer requires the services ( Army, Air Force, Navy/Marines ) to separate or discharge transgender personnel. As a result of DOD's regulatory revision, service-level regulations are now out of compliance with DOD rules and must be revised."

For more information about the American Military Partner Association and LGBT military spouses and their families, please visit www.MilitaryPartners.org .

The American Military Partner Association is the nation's largest organization for the partners, spouses, and families of America's LGBT service members and veterans. With over 35,000 members and supporters, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for our "modern military families."

Palm Center and ACLU statements on U.S. Air Force Secretary's support for lifting transgender ban

U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James Voiced Support for Lifting Ban in USA Today Story

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Earlier today, U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told USA Today the transgender ban currently in place in the U.S. Military should be lifted. James further stated, "From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve."

Palm Center director Aaron Belkin offered the following statement:

"I am encouraged by Air Force Secretary James's announcement today that the Pentagon's ban on military service by transgender personnel will be reviewed soon, and by her statement that, 'anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.''"

"Scholarly research as well as the experiences of 18 foreign militaries that welcome the service of transgender personnel show that an inclusive policy will strengthen our military."

"Air Force Secretary James's comments today are a positive step, but President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and is ultimately responsible for setting policy, and it is imperative for him to clarify his position as well."

Ian Thompson, ACLU Legislative Representative, issued the following statement:

"Today's comments from Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James provide further proof that it is only a question of when, not if, the outdated, discriminatory ban on transgender troops will be lifted. Ending this senseless discrimination — as many of our closest allies have already done — is something that our military can do. What has been lacking to date is the will to do so. It is time for President Obama and the leadership of the Defense Department — both civilian and uniformed — to take the necessary steps to ensure that this ban will be lifted, so that all of those who are capable of accomplishing the job will have an opportunity to serve."

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