Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Express gratitude for increasing the authorities needed to discharge transgender people from the United States Army.
The United States Army is elevating the bureaucratic authority required to discharge transgender members from its ranks, according to a recent announcement made by leadership. Though transgender people are still officially banned from joining the army, this policy change represents a step forward for present and future transgender military members. Applaud the U.S. Army for beginning to be more accepting of people who aren’t cisgender.
According to the U.S. Army, the military branch will now have a harder time firing transgender members on the basis of their gender identity. All such discharges will now have to be approved by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, whereas before they only had to go through local unit commanders.
This change is encouraging because the Department of Defense made similar changes for gay and lesbian members of the military in the waning days of its controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, just months before the department did away with the policy entirely. Given that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and President Barack Obama have recently gone on record saying that transgender people should be allowed into the military without reservation, this specific policy change could be a bellwether of more substantial, progressive change coming in the near future.
Transgender people who want to serve their country in the military should be just as able to do that as their cisgender peers. Sign the petition below to applaud the President for this policy change in the Army.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing you today regarding a change in the United States Army policy towards transgender service members. Specifically, I wanted to thank you for making it more difficult for the Army to discharge transgender members on the basis of their gender identity.
Trans people have been discriminated against in America for decades. The military, unfortunately, has taken and continues to take part in this oppression—members have been discharged on the basis of their being transgender, and openly trans people are not allowed to enlist at all. Such policies have no place in our country.
Trans Americans who want to serve their country in the military should be free to do so, and Americans already in the military should be free to express their gender openly and without fear of reprisal. While this most recent policy change still allows trans Army members to be fired on the basis of their gender, it does make it much more difficult.
While the ultimate goal should be nothing less than the complete dismantling of the military’s transphobic policies, this is still a significant step forward in improving the status of transgender people in the military. I hope you see this as more of a start than an end, however, and continue reforming our military until it allows transgender people to serve openly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fæ via Wikimedia Commons