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Transgender Advocates Applaud New Pentagon Policy Ensuring Equal Treatment of Transgender Troops

Today, the Pentagon is set to issue new guidance on transgender service members that, as reported, rolls back Trump-era restrictions on enlistment and service by qualified transgender people. This step reinstates rules and policies that had been put in place originally by Secretary Ash Carter that equalize terms of service for transgender people. In response to this announcement of the anticipated guidance, transgender experts issued the following statements:

“It’s a relief to see the Pentagon releasing new policy guidelines reinforcing the end of the transgender military ban, and it’s especially meaningful to see this policy announced today, on Transgender Day of Visibility,” said Nicolas Talbott, an aspiring service member who challenged the transgender military ban. “I look forward to seeing the military’s core values of fairness and respect reflected in a clear policy that welcomes all people who are qualified and willing to serve and I’m more confident than ever that when I apply to enlist, I will be judged on my skills and my accomplishments, instead of my transgender status, which has nothing to do with my ability to serve.”

“With this new set of regulations, the military is putting an end to an ugly and shameful chapter in our nation’s history and once again embracing our nation’s highest ideals of equal opportunity for all. The new policies recognize the contributions of transgender service members and will increase the strength and stability of our armed forces,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director at National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Increasing troops’ access to gender-affirming medical care will help transgender service members focus on their work, so they can do the best they can at their job, instead of having to worry about red tape stopping them from getting the health care they need.”

“With this policy, the Pentagon is setting a clear example for our federal government when it comes to fairness and equal opportunity,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “These policy changes are an important step toward strengthening the military. Of course, we still need comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections like the Equality Act so that transgender service members are able to live with freedom and dignity whether in uniform or in civilian life.”