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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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The End of the Military Transgender Ban
We’ve come a long way from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. On July 1st, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced new guidelines and policies that end the military transgender ban in the United States Armed Forces. Many members of the trans community and military are celebrating this milestone. The end of the military transgender ban marks a major step for equality. It has been the result of years of effort by transgender organizers and activists.
The announcement follows a year-long Department of Defense study to determine if there were any “practical impediments” that would prevent transgender soldiers from openly serving in the military. In the course of the study, Carter met with active-duty trans soldiers to determine how to best allow trans people to serve in the military and how to provide equal access to medical treatment and training. The results of the DOD study help bring an end of the military transgender ban.
Much like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the decision to end the military transgender ban recognizes that the desire and ability to serve and protect the country has little to do with gender or sexual orientation. It opens the door to qualified soldiers who may not have otherwise been welcome to serve.
Immediate Effects: End of the Military Transgender Ban
The new policies that end the military transgender ban will begin go into effect immediately. The policy change will rapidly have an impact on the lives of transgender service members:
- Halting Separation From Service– One immediate effect of end of the military transgender ban is to cease current separation from service procedures–meaning discharge or other dismissal–based on a soldier’s transgender identity. This will be an enormous relief for those transgender soldiers who may have otherwise been dismissed from the military.
- Freedom to Serve Openly– The Department of Defense is one of the largest employers of the transgender community, with anywhere between 1,300 and 6,600 transgender people in active or reserve duty. With the new guidelines in place, these service members can be open about their gender identity without fear of reprisal.
- Respect and Dignity– While this is something of an intangible benefit, the very fact of recognition sends a powerful message to transgender service members. Their contributions are recognized, their situation is respected by those in charge, and they will be judged by merits and accomplishments instead of punished for identity.
Additionally, transgender protections will be added to the Military Equal Opportunity policy, which outlines protections for service members across all branches of the military. Even for Department of Defense personnel outside of the armed forces–over 15,000 of whom are transgender–this promotes a more diverse and welcoming environment.
Long-Term Implementation: End of the Military Transgender Ban
Of course, such a wide-ranging policy will take some time to reach full implementation across all branches of the military. There will surely be bumps in the road. The real work of implementing and enforcing the new transgender policies will begin within the next few months. There are also several logistical issues to contend with:
- Training– The military is a massive organization with a complex bureaucracy and several independent branches. Ensuring cooperation and successful implementation of the new policies will require extensive training and a comprehensive look at current guidelines and policies.
- Recruitment– As the new guidelines are put into effect, there will likely be an uptick in the number of transgender individuals joining the armed forces. The Department of Defense will begin to actively recruit more transgender individuals for service in the armed forces.
- Medical Benefits– Perhaps one of the biggest long-term effects of the new guidelines is access to medical care. Transgender service members can finally have the doctors and treatments they need, without fear of “outing” themselves or dealing with medical professionals who are unprepared for the challenges of transgender care.
Implementation of the new policies will take an extensive amount of work and training, but the end result will be a more inclusive military. An end to a ban on service based on gender identity will have an impact even beyond the military. This is a huge moment for transgender inclusion, visibility, and acceptance from a major branch of the government.
We’d love to hear from our readers who are in the military. Have you seen any impact from the new guidelines yet? How are enlisted trans people reacting to the news? Let us know in the comments!