Target: Ashton Carter, Defense Secretary, USA
Goal: End discrimination against transgender military personnel.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was a poignant moment in LGBT history. ‘Out of many, we are one,’ said President Obama in 2010 when he signed legislation overturning the long-standing ban. However, as gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals enjoy the freedom of serving openly in the military, transgender military personnel are still at risk for discrimination.
According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, being transgender is still considered a medical regulation that unjustly prohibits military service on the basis of a “psychosexual disorder.” Some regulations include: transsexualism, a history of gender transitioning, and cross-dressing. Even after the abolition of DADT, transgender members of the military who risked their lives and dedicated years of service continued to be dismissed for their identities.
It is estimated that DADTs shortcomings and lack of inclusivity has forced more than 15,000 trans service members to continue concealing their identities, or risk the ultimate consequence: being fired. Advocates for the modification of DADT to include transgender service workers hoped that former Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, would get rid of the archaic medical ban. After all, in a May 2014 address, Hagel stated that any American, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, should have the opportunity to serve. Nonetheless, no changes have been made and transgender military personnel continue to be treated inferiorly.
Currently, the United States is the only country among many of its allies, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, that singles out and bans trans members of the military from serving openly. There is no medical basis for maintaining the restriction and the upkeep of prejudice against trans military personnel conflicts with how the military regulates every other medical and psychological condition.
The abandonment of transgender military personnel remains at odds with President Obama’s legacy of support for the LGBT community. Following the introduction of legislation barring discrimination against transgender individuals in the workplace, service members are presently the only federal employees who risk losing their jobs for their gender identity.
Sign the petition to urge new Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, to end discrimination against transgender military workers.
Dear Defense Secretary Ashton Carter,
It has recently come to my attention that transgender individuals serving in the military continue to be discriminated against, despite the recent overruling of DADT. Almost 15,000 transgender service workers risk being fired simply because of their gender identity. And, quite frankly, the thought is preposterous.
Homosexuality is no longer considered a form of mental illness by the mainstream mental health system, so why is being transgender still considered a disorder by the U.S. military? If lesbians, bisexuals and gay men are allowed to serve openly, then transgender military personnel should be too.
High ranking military workers shouldn’t propose prejudiced and heartless ultimatums to their trans colleagues and cohorts. Among its allies, which include the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, the United States is the only country that maintains a ban on transgender members that keeps them from serving openly.
Too many transgender members of the military have risked their lives, protected and served this country for us to deny them the right to serve openly. Let’s show trans military members that we care by giving them the opportunity to fully be themselves, without consequence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Till Krech via Wikimedia Commons