Transgender People Can Serve Openly in U.S. Armed Forces

Christopher Zanetis

On June 30, 2016 Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced the lifting the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces, one of the final barriers to military service. Here, Tripp, JD ’17, an active member of the National Guard who has flown combat rescue helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan and is co-president of the Stanford Law Veterans Organization, offers praise for the move:

“It’s a proud day to be a member of our Armed Forces. Today’s decision [June 30, 2016] marks yet another historic advancement of civil rights by the Department of Defense and the Obama Administration.  President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 in 1948 ordering the racial desegregation of the military.  This occurred an incredible 16 years before President Johnson secured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  And President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2011 – two years before Windsor (holding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional) and four years before Obergefell (extending marriage to same sex couples).

 These policy changes pay tribute to the brave Americans whose desire to serve their country trumps ignorance and fear.  Hopefully, today’s decision, as with past military policy changes, precedes a societal change in attitude towards the transgender community and a move towards greater equality for all Americans.”