Yesterday, the Attorney General of the United States announced that the Department of Justice will treat workplace discrimination against transgender people as sex discrimination, which is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, based upon the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) decision in Macy v. Holder. The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization for the partners, spouses, and families of America’s LGBTQ service members and veterans, responded to the news by calling on the Defense Department to end its currently unjustified sex discrimination against transgender troops by lifting the ban against open and honest service.
“The EEOC and the Attorney General have made it clear that workplace discrimination against transgender people is not only wrong, but unlawful,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway. “While the Defense Department follows a different set of rules, there is no valid reason that our transgender troops should continue to be prohibited from serving openly and honestly. The ban continues to harm our military families, military readiness, and ultimately the mission. The Secretary of Defense should do the right thing and immediately order the review of the current outdated regulations that he said he was open to back in May.”
While tremendous progress has been made since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the Defense Department has not yet updated significantly outdated policies impacting LGBTQ military families. In addition to its continued enforcement of outdated regulations prohibiting open and honest service by the estimated 15,500 transgender troops who currently serve, it has still not included sexual orientation in the official non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program for uniformed troops—over three years after the repeal of DADT.
AMPA continues to advocate for explicit protections in the Defense Department’s non-discrimination policy for uniformed troops and Military Equal Opportunity Program for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Notably, these same protections are guaranteed to civilian employees of the Defense Department.