Target: U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter
Goal: Praise plans to allow transgender military members to serve openly rather than forcing them to hide their identity.
Transgender soldiers will soon be able to be open about their real gender while serving in the military instead of being forced to hide themselves. Thanks in part to urging from activists like those of the ForceChange community, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the creation of a Pentagon working group that will “study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.”
Carter called the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” regulations regarding transgender individuals in the military “outdated,” saying that “[w]e have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines — real, patriotic Americans — who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.”
He’s absolutely right. It only does harm to trans persons to require them to live a lie while working to defend our country. The elimination of restrictions for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual military members has caused none of the problems that critics were worried about, so there’s no reason to think that allowing trans individuals to be open during their service will create any issues.
Sign this petition to praise the Pentagon for moving to eliminate bigoted and unnecessary restrictions on transgender military members. Anyone who is willing to fight to defend their country should be given every right to be themselves during their service.
Dear Defense Secretary Ashton Carter,
I’m writing to voice my appreciation for your efforts to eliminate all restrictions on transgender service members that forbid them from being open about their gender identities. It’s been years since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed for gay, lesbian, bisexual and pansexual soldiers, but the same policy remained in place for transgender individuals. It’s long past time to extend the right to be oneself in the military to all members.
You were absolutely right when you called the policy outdated and harmful. Having to pretend to be someone you’re not is stressful, and the fear of being kicked out of the military should you slip up must be nearly unbearable. No one who chose to risk death and terrible sacrifice to defend their country should have to deal with that kind of unnecessary and unequal burden.
Thank you for listening to transgender people and their supporters. It was clear that removing restrictions on transgender service members would happen eventually, but someone had to take that first step. You can now carry yourself with the knowledge that you helped to make the U.S. military a safer and more equal place for our soldiers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ted Eytan