Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to news that the Department of Defense (DoD) may be poised to delay by six months the implementation of a new policy allowing transgender recruits to enter the military. The proposed delay will not prevent currently serving transgender service members from continuing to serve, however, it would delay the change in policy that will eventually allow qualified and talented transgender people to enter the military.

“Secretary Mattis has made clear he believes there is a need to increase troop levels, so this proposed delay is disappointing because it’s such an incredibly important recruitment change,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Any qualified American who is willing and able to serve should have the opportunity to join the ranks, regardless of their gender identity. We urge Secretary Mattis to reject further delays and move quickly in implementing this important recruitment policy.”

There are thousands of transgender service members currently serving, and on June 30, 2016, Secretary Carter announced the much anticipated end to the ban on open service by transgender service members. The announcement came more than a year after Secretary Carter promised that the Department of Defense would update the outdated regulations which prevent open service by transgender service members and the launch of a working group to assess the impact of the change and work out the details.

In June of 2015, the American Medical Association approved a resolution saying there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the U.S. military.”

In March of 2015, AMPA released an unprecedented joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm the outdated regulations inflicted on military families. The report noted, “The outdated regulations serve no purpose and only dehumanize and prevent qualified and capable individuals from enlisting and serving. The ban perpetuates trauma to all those involved, both the service member and their family.”