SPARTA Hails Report that DOD Will Allow Transgender Service
Six Months “More Than Enough Time” To Revise Policies
Washington, DC – SPARTA, one of the leading advocates for transgender military service, hailed today’s report that the Secretary of Defense will commission a Working Group to revise policies so that transgender service members may serve openly rather than in silence. The Working Group is scheduled to complete its task in six months.
“This is a tribute to the honorable military service of thousands of transgender Americans. There is much more to do, but the Secretary’s clear intent to treat transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with the same dignity and on equal footing with other service members aligns with the core values of our Armed Forces,” said Allyson Robinson, Army veteran and SPARTA Director of Policy. “We stand ready to provide resources to the Working Group for the regulations changes required to take care of all the troops.”
“Six months is more than enough time to hammer out the details. This isn’t new ground,” continued Robinson. “A number of our military allies deploy transgender troops alongside American forces down-range, as do DOD contractors. Police and fire departments have managed transgender inclusion. I’m confident that our military leaders can handle this as smoothly as the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
Transgender service members who belong to SPARTA had these reactions.
“I’ve always put the Air Force and my job first, and my commanders have treated me with dignity and respect,” said Sr. Airman Logan Ireland. “I am grateful that there will be one clear policy so that others like me will be able to continue to serve with pride.”
Airman Ireland recently attended the White House Pride Reception with his fiancée, Army Corporal Laila Villanueva, also transgender. He was allowed to attend in male uniform, a departure from current Air Force policy.
“My leaders have operated on the basis that how I do my job is what matters,” echoed Army Staff Sergeant Patricia King, an infantry soldier stationed in Colorado Springs. “But until now, the policies haven’t been in place to provide me or my unit the support we need, so we’ve improvised. This action would put the right process in motion, to give us clear guidance so I can keep doing my job, and taking care of my soldiers.”
“While some people don’t understand, many of my fellow soldiers have been supportive,” said Army Captain Jennifer Peace, a transgender woman serving in a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “This change allows me to continue to do my job without the additional burden of pretending I’m someone I’m not. And that makes me a better officer and leader.”
About SPARTA: Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. Our mission is to advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT service members, veterans, and their families. As a membership organization, SPARTA exists by and for the LGBT military community. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for “Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All.”