OutServe-SLDN responds to DoD's Six-Month Delay in Transgender Recruitment Policy

(WASHINGTON) June 30, 2017 – OutServe-SLDN, the nation's leading and largest LGBT military & veterans issued the following statement today, in response to the Pentagon's statement, first reported by the Washington Post, that there will be a six-month delay in the enactment of policies allowing qualified, transgender individuals to enter military service.

"Under former Secretary Carter's guidance, the services were directed to develop policies which would allow transgender individuals to join the military, a privilege they are currently denied. Over the past several months, our team has worked closely with Pentagon officials and allied organizations to ensure necessary policy changes related to accessions were ready for a timely deployment by July 1st. We remain confident that the services are equipped to support this final piece of transgender military service and there should be no delay in its implementation.

We are disappointed that the Department of Defense has chosen to delay, by six-months, implementation of the recruitment policy, thus denying qualified transgender individuals the opportunity to enlist, attend ROTC or enroll in one of the military academies.

Transgender service members have been serving, openly and authentically, since October 2016 with no impact on readiness. It is time to full lift the ban on transgender service by implementing this final piece by implementing the accessions policy. This delay is a disservice to the transgender community and to our military as a whole.

While we cannot now avoid this six-month delay, we expect the full and unequivocal implementation of this accessions policy for transgender individuals at the end of these six-months. We reiterate that the services are prepared for transgender individuals and assert that delays beyond January 2018 will have a negative impact on military readiness---that we cannot tolerate."

OutServe-SLDN estimates that there are more than 14,000 transgender individuals currently serving in our armed services. Many of them doing so openly as a result of the retention policy, as part of the lifting the ban on transgender service, last year. Transgender individuals are currently serving and this unnecessary postponement of the accessions policy has no impact on them. However, it does affect the many transgender individuals that are standing by, ready to report to duty. 

OutServe-SLDN's legal team will continue to provide any and all advocacy and legal assistance required to ensure the transgender community is able to openly serve our country. Individuals seeking assistance may contact the legal department directly, at 800-538-7418 or legal@outserve.org.

OutServe-SLDN (OS-SLDN) is the largest non-profit, legal services, advocacy and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 60,000 subscribers around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org.

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