The U.S. Navy announced last night that it has granted the first waiver to a transgender service member under the transgender military ban which has been in effect for more than a year.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed suit in March on behalf of the Naval Officer who has been granted the waiver. The government was due to file its response to the suit next week.

“The ban has been in place for over a year and this is the first waiver to be granted,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “While we are relieved that our client, a highly qualified Naval officer, will be able to continue her service, there are other equally qualified transgender service members who have sought waivers and are still in limbo, despite being perfectly fit to serve. Dedicated military service members shouldn’t have to bring a lawsuit to be able to continue doing their job.”

“There is no basis for treating transgender service members differently by requiring them to seek a waiver that no one else has to obtain in order to continue to serve,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director. “While we are relieved for our client, requiring transgender service members to jump through this discriminatory hoop makes no sense and only underscores the irrationality of the ban. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s fitness to serve, and transgender individuals should be held to the same standards as other service members.”

“We are ecstatic both for the Sailor and the breach of the waiver logjam,” said Emma Shinn, president of SPART*A, which advocates for actively serving transgender military members, veterans, and their families. “I am hopeful that this is the first of many; but the fight is far from over.”

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