Every move toward inclusion in the U.S. military has met with political and social resistance, even from veterans' organizations. Whether it was racial desegregation, integration of women, or repealing "don't ask, don't tell"--controversial moves toward inclusion of qualified servicemembers have nevertheless made our nation's military stronger and more inclusive of our nation's richly diverse talent, perspectives, and skillsets. Ensuring that qualified transgender troops can continue to serve in the military is no less controversial--and no less critical.
UPDATE: On January 22nd, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Trump administration's ban on transgender servicemembers may go forward. While this proposes severe impacts to current servicemembers, the Department of Defense has stated no action will be taken because of another injunction remaining on the ban, and four lower court cases still pending. We remain in firm support of the equality of all those who have served and are serving in our nation's military, and we honor the service and sacrifices of transgender patriots serving in uniform right now who need to hear our support.
A founding principle of the NYC Veterans Alliance is that all service matters. We are proud to stand again for our transgender brothers and sisters in arms to serve openly in the military. Last November, we were part of an amicus ("friend of the court) brief alongside Service Women's Action Network, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Protect Our Defenders, National Veterans Legal Service Program, and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium in support of transgender troops as part of the legal battle against discrimination in a case that made its way through the DC Court of Appeals.
View the amicus brief HERE.
“Our nation cannot afford to turn away talented, capable Americans from military service at a time when we most need them," said Founding Director Kristen Rouse. "Right now, thousands of transgender men and women are serving honorably and capably in the U.S. Armed Forces, and countless more transgender veterans have proudly served our nation, many of them with honor and distinction in combat. We want these servicemembers and veterans to know that we stand with them, and that we are grateful for their service to our nation. We likewise stand in full support of offering qualified transgender individuals the opportunity to serve our nation. Out of many, we are one. Equality is not a social experiment. It is a core value we serve to protect and defend.”
A comprehensive study by RAND on transgender personnel serving openly in the U.S. military is HERE.
A PDF of the full amicus brief is available HERE.