Last month, the Pentagon ended the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military. This was one of the last barriers to military service by any individual.
The military has gone through some changes with expanding roles for women, and the inclusion of gays, lesbians, and bisexual service members. Effectively immediately, a transgender person cannot be discharged on that basis.
In addition, they will also receive the same medical coverage as any other military member. For current military members, the coverage will include hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, if doctors determine it is medically necessary.
Captain Sage Fox, a U.S. Army Reserve officer, enlisted in 1993 yet transitioned in 2012. She has over 20 years of service, including Special Forces training. Captain Fox was the first transgender Soldier to serve.
She believes this decision is about civil rights and equality. “It’s about recognizing the decency of human beings…that gender is not a barrier to service.”
She was not discharged after her transition, but was moved to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) – which means she could be called back to duty, but would not show up for training, draw a paycheck or have access to benefits.
The transgender ban lifted makes an impact on transgender people currently serving as well as those wanting to serve. There are over 10,000 transgender active duty service members and reservists affected by this decision.
As our world changes, our U.S. military is changing as well. The primary goal is readiness. Our nation depends on troops being medically ready and deployable. Congress is concerned about readiness requirements, especially when troops are deployed more often these days.
Shouldn’t transgender people be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military? It doesn’t make them any more or less capable. The transgender ban lifted removes discrimination. Did you know that 18 other countries have allowed transgender members to serve openly for some time now?
Discrimination bothers me, particularly in the military. If you meet the requirements to serve then you should be able to serve. They care about our country too and want freedom to live, raise their children, and provide for their families in a safe environment.
Is that not what we are all fighting for?