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Mirroring similar recent changes by the Department of the Army, the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council must now review discharge recommendations

Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that the U.S. Air Force officially made a policy change regarding dismissal of transgender service members. Removal of a transgender service member from the Air Force must now be “reviewed by the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council for recommendation, and then to the [Air Force Review Boards Agency] AFRBA director, for decision.”

“This is a huge step in the right direction for our transgender airmen and their families, but they are still threatened by outdated regulations preventing them from serving openly and honestly,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “We need Secretary Carter to order a comprehensive review of these outdated regulations. Transgender service members sacrifice so much for our nation, and they should be able to serve openly, honestly, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. A service member’s gender identity has nothing to do with the ability to get the job done.”

In a press release, Daniel Sitterly, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs said, “Though the Air Force policy regarding involuntary separation of gender dysphoric Airmen has not changed, the elevation of decision authority to the director, Air Force Review Boards Agency, ensures the ability to consistently apply the existing policy.”

The U.S. Army also recently made similar changes requiring a higher level review of discharge authority for transgender troops. Just prior to the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, a similar change requiring a higher level of approval for the removal of gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members was implemented.

In March, AMPA released a joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm that the outdated medical regulations impacting transgender service members has on the entire military family unit.