There is renewed energy on Capitol Hill to lift the Defense Department’s ban on transgender troops.
Lawmakers view recent steps by the Pentagon and some of the armed services to expand protections for gay and lesbian troops as an opportunity to do away with the decades-old prohibition on allowing transgender troops to serve openly.
They are also taking note of other societal changes in calling for the ban on service by transgender trips to be lifted.
“In politics, I think it’s always appropriate to take advantage of timing. Whether it’s taking down the Confederate flag or creating equality in the military for transgender persons,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).
She plans to introduce legislation next month that calls on the Pentagon to immediately grant anti-discrimination protection for all service members, and their dependents, who identify as transgender.
The bill, which is still being drafted, would also direct the Defense secretary to hammer out new policies for transgender troops, from regulations about their uniforms to what treatments would be covered under Tricare, the military’s healthcare system.