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Current Law Allows Transgender People to Serve in the Military

by K. Scott Kohanowski, Esq. July 27, 2017

Yesterday morning the President of the United States, in a series of tweets, indicated that transgender people will not be permitted to serve in the military. Transgender individuals currently serving in the military may now, understandably, find themselves concerned as to their legal status and continued ability to serve in the armed forces. Concerned transgender service members should note that current military rules and regulations issued by the Department of Defense and the armed services allow transgender people to serve their country openly in uniform. The President’s tweets did not abrogate those rules and, unless and until those rules are changed through the appropriate process, transgender individuals can continue to serve openly.

Just last week, the New York City Bar Association issued a public statement jointly drafted by its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee and its Military Affairs and Justice Committee in support of the policy permitting the open service of transgender service members in the military. Read the City Bar’s full statement here: http://bit.ly/2gQekgq

Where to Find Help
If adverse action is proposed or taken against a transgender service member in violation of the existing rules of the Department of Defense, such individual is strongly encouraged to consult an attorney familiar with military law. Civil legal aid attorneys, such as those directing the City Bar Justice Center’s LGBT Advocacy and Veterans Assistance Projects, are available to assist any transgender service member who may be adversely impacted or who may have questions or concerns regarding their rights. Additionally, military attorneys (judge advocate generals – JAGs) are available to advise and assist military members on these issues at all ADC/DSO/TDS offices.

To contact CBJC’s LGBT Advocacy and Veterans Assistance Projects, please call the intake lines below:

LGBT Advocacy Project: (212) 382-6766

Veterans Assistance Project: (212) 382-4722

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