This month, the Palm Center — a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public — released a report outlining the failure of the military services to comply with new Defense Department regulations on service by transgender personnel.
According to the report, “On August 5, 2014, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a new regulation that weakens the prohibition against transgender personnel in military service and requires reassessment of the policy, even though the ban remains in effect. 1 DOD Instruction (DODI) 1332.18, Disability Evaluation System (DES), eliminates a component of the regulatory architecture of the transgender ban, as DOD no longer requires the services (Army, Air Force, Navy/Marines) to separate or discharge transgender personnel. As a result of DOD’s regulatory revision, service-level regulations are now out of compliance with DOD rules and must be revised.”
In response to the report, AMPA President Ashley Broadway said:
“It’s very important to our military families that the services take immediate action in complying with this new Defense Department policy. The current outdated and obsolete regulations not only impact the estimated 15,500 transgender service members who currently serve in silence, but their families as well. No military family should have to endure the hardships and damage this policy causes.”
The journey towards full LGBT equality in the Defense Department is far from complete. The Defense Department has not yet updated significantly outdated policies impacting LGBT service members and their families. In addition to the outdated and obsolete regulations prohibiting open and honest service by transgender people, over three years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” sexual orientation has still not been added to the Defense Department’s non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program for service members.