LGBT Group Calls Out Obama: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Not Over, Allow Transgenders in the Military
The gay rights movement scored a major win when President Obama signed an executive order ending the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay soldiers but the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is asking Obama to finish the job and allow transgender men and women to serve in the military.
After a report released by an independent group led by former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders noted the lack of medical reasons to exclude transgender soldiers from the military, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force seized on the opportunity to push the administration to act.
Rea Carey, the executive director of the task force, released a press release saying “We commend the commission for stating independently what we all know: there is no compelling medical reason to exclude trans people from serving their country, and transitions would place almost no burden on the military. The President should sign an executive order to lift the transgender military service ban.”
Carey went on to state “It’s time to finish the job on repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ once and for all.”
According to the AP’s reporting on the study, “The five-member panel, convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University, said Department of Defense regulations designed to keep transgender people out of the military are based on outdated beliefs that require thousands of current service members either to leave the service or to forego the medical procedures and other changes that could align their bodies and gender identities.”
The report itself states “We determined not only that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban, but also that the ban itself is an expensive, damaging and unfair barrier to health care access for the approximately 15,450 transgender personnel who serve currently in the active, Guard and reserve components.”
The report goes on to note that “Unlike other medical disqualifications, which are based on modern medical expertise and military experience, the transgender enlistment bar is based on standards that are decades out of date.”
Countries like Canada, Australia, England, and Israel already allow transgender people to serve in the military. Department of Defense Spokesperson Nate Christensen told the AP that “At this time there are no plans to change the department’s policy and regulations which do not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. Military.”