January 17, 2021

Ahead of Defense Secretary Confirmation Hearing, Palm Center Reminds Policymakers that Transgender Ban Can Be Ended in Under Thirty Days

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –  Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, issued the following statement in anticipation of Tuesday’s planned Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of Lloyd Austin III for Defense Secretary:

“The readiness of the armed forces has always required strong leadership, a single standard for all troops, and drawing from the largest possible pool of qualified applicants. At a time of multiple threats to our nation’s security, the incoming defense secretary must quickly rid the military of unnecessary obstacles to readiness so our armed forces are prepared to act.

“As the Palm Center has shown in a recent memo, the Pentagon already has everything in place to end the harmful ban on transgender troops, without requiring further attention from the new administration. We anticipate a speedy and smooth reversal of the current ban so that all our service members can immediately focus on the job of protecting our country. There is no reason for full implementation of inclusive policy to take any longer than thirty days.”

The memo, which can be viewed here, explains that everything needed for fully inclusive service “already exists in current military guidance” because the Pentagon under President Trump had to leave guidance in place to govern grandfathered transgender troops. As a result, even as it reinstated a ban on most transgender individuals, DoD “left all the necessary breadcrumbs to mark the way back to inclusive service.”