A new directive now requires that transgender people in the US Army can only be discharged by the assistant secretary of the Army for personnel, which is a senior position. Previously, Transgender soldiers could be discharged by a commander, as reported by Times.
The new directive, reported by USA Today, does not get rid of the rule that allows transgender soldiers to be discharged by their gender identity, but it does make it harder for them to be discharged.
“This is a welcome step toward inclusive policy, but transgender troops must still serve in silence until more is done to dismantle the ban,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, told USA Today.
This policy will also allow transgender soldiers in the U.S. Army to serve more openly, but has no bearing on the Navy and the Air Force.
“Today’s action by the Army helps over 6,000 transgender soldiers serving in silence” Allyson Robinson, a former Army captain and SPARTA Director of Policy, said in a statement. “While transgender service members welcome this step, they recognize it is only a stopgap measure aimed at making a failing policy fail less. What they and their commanders need is a comprehensive, Department-level policy review.”
President Barack Obama lifted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban in 2011, which allowed soldiers to be kicked out for being gay, but the change did not include transgender soldiers.
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