Reflections on the second anniversary of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal
Today marks two years since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You fought alongside the Task Force to repeal the law and you’ve stayed with us to make sure the military continues to do the right thing by its LGB servicemembers. We had a big win when the Windsor Supreme Court decision striking down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act enabled military spouses to access benefits.
While celebrating this progress, we must acknowledge transgender people who still serve in silence and face discrimination even though transgender Americans serve in the military at twice the rate of the general population.
Transgender veterans experience higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, and family rejection than those who have not served. These veterans face unique challenges and barriers to obtaining necessary health care and accurate identification documents. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” does not allow transgender people to serve openly or do near enough to help transgender veterans.
You can learn more from our recently released report “Still Serving in Silence: Transgender Service Members and Veterans in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.”
Though the Veteran’s Health Administration has begun to address transgender veterans’ health care concerns the military has yet to change policies so that transgender people can serve openly and with honor.
Today as we celebrate the fact that lesbian, gay and bisexual people can serve openly in the military and that same-sex spouses of veterans finally have access to hard-earned benefits, we can’t forget that the battle isn’t won. We know you’ll stay with us until it is.