The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund on Monday (25 May) renewed its call for transgender people to be allowed to serve openly in the United States Armed Forces.
TLDEF honored the transgender men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty – while serving in silence – and had a message for the US Defense Department on Memorial Day.
‘It is heartbreaking to know that they paid the ultimate price, yet could not be authentically themselves,’ said TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman. ‘We call on the Pentagon to lift the ban on open military service by transgender people now.’
Silverman said ‘outdated medical regulations’ keep the ban in place and are harming the more than 15,000 transgender people currently serving in the armed forces in secret.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was asked earlier this year about open transgender military service and said: ‘I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.’
The TLDEF says it is time for Carter to take the proper steps to dismantle the ban.
‘Our close allies Australia, Canada, England, and Israel, and 14 other countries have successfully integrated transgender people into their militaries,’ Silverman said. ‘The United States should follow their example.
‘Like all members of the armed forces who continually put their lives on the line, transgender service members deserve the respect and dignity that come with serving openly.’