In 2017, almost 15,000 of us serving in uniform—people who swore to protect and defend our nation—were told by our commander-in-chief that we were no longer welcome to serve in any capacity in the armed services. In 2019, the Department of Defense approved a new policy that barred transgender troops from openly serving within the ranks.
Today, marks a resounding victory for our members and allies who have organized and spoken out against these discriminatory policies, and all the other veterans who worked so hard to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden as Commander-in-Chief. With this promise kept by Joe Biden, transgender Americans are once again able to openly serve in the military without fear of systematic persecution. While this is an important and critical step forward for ensuring transgender rights, there is still work that must to done to fully support current and past transgender service members.
Government and military leaders must ensure that service members will be referred to with respect, using their correct names and pronouns, and implement a true zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination and transphobia within the ranks. Secondly, current and past service members must be afforded full health coverage including therapy, hormones, and gender affirming surgery. Trans Veterans who are eligible to receive VA care are allotted limited therapy and hormone treatment, the VA has yet to cover gender affirming surgery.
Common Defense commends President Biden and Secretary of Defense Austin for once again recognizing the critical role transgender service members play in our armed serves, and we look forward to this administration taking these additional, much-needed concrete steps to create a more inclusive military for the most diverse branch of government.
Team Common Defense