November 26, 2014

Retired General And Flag Officers Call On Military Services To Comply With Recent DOD Rules Affecting Transgender Personnel

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 26, 2014 –Three retired General and Flag Officers, including Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Major General Vance Coleman, and Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett issued a joint statement today to accompany a new report showing that the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marines have failed to comply with new Defense Department (DOD) rules on transgender personnel.

The retired General and Flag Officers are joined by seven LGBT leaders and experts who signed the statement, including Kristin Beck (Military Freedom Coalition), Kylar Broadus (National LGBTQ Task Force), James Esseks (American Civil Liberties Union), Diane Mazur (Palm Center), Shannon Minter (National Center for Lesbian Rights), Harper Jean Tobin (National Center for Transgender Equality) and Dayna Walker (Transgender American Veterans Association).

According to the report, written by Palm Center Legal Co-Director Diane Mazur, DOD issued a new regulation in August that eliminates some of the provisions banning service by transgender personnel, and that obligates the individual Services to update their own regulations. Because the Services have not yet complied with DOD rules, however, transgender personnel are not yet allowed to serve.

Today’s report explains that DOD’s new regulation permits the Services to designate conditions as administratively disqualifying only if those conditions impair fitness for duty or deployment. According to a March 2014 report by a former US Surgeon General and retired General and Flag Officers, transgender identity does not compromise fitness for duty or deployment. As a result, today’s report states, “Service-level regulations are now out of compliance with DOD rules and must be revised.”

The full report can be viewed, here.

Accompanying the release of today’s report is a statement by retired General and Flag Officers and LGBT leaders and experts calling on the Military Services to, “comply with DOD regulations by removing transgender identity as a defect warranting administrative separation.”

The full statement can be viewed, here.

The new report coincides with President Obama’s announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will step down. In May, both Hagel and the White House indicated an openness to reevaluating the Pentagon’s ban, but no review has been initiated. “Given the need for consistency between the Defense Department and the Services, the President should clarify his policy on transgender personnel,” said Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin. He added, “Today’s report and statement highlight what 18 foreign militaries have found, that inclusive policy can be implemented without difficulty and that inclusion strengthens the Armed Services.”