According to a story published yesterday, official documents obtained by USA Today show that the decision to discharge transgender soldiers from the U.S. Army must now be made by an Assistant Secretary of the Army. However, transgender personnel are still unable to serve openly in the United States military.
“This is a welcome step toward inclusive policy, but transgender troops must still serve in silence until more is done to dismantle the ban,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, which has published research on sexual orientation issues in the military.
Last year, the Palm Center released a study, “Report of the Planning Commission on Transgender Military Service,” which found that allowing transgender personnel to serve in the military “is administratively feasible and will not be burdensome or complicated”. The study also provided a detailed road map for the policy change, showing that implementation could proceed immediately and will be successful in its execution. It also suggests the change is inevitable, noting the U.S. will “likely” join the 18 other countries that already permit transgender service.
“This is a positive indication that the military is now considering a more comprehensive review of transgender inclusion,” says American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “However, we are still waiting on Secretary [Ash] Carter and the Department of Defense to call for full inclusion. Our transgender service members will still risk separation until the Department updates outdated policy to permit open and honest service.”