Dem lawmaker to push ahead with bill lifting DOD transgender ban

Dem lawmaker to push ahead with bill lifting DOD transgender ban

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Monday said she plans to introduce legislation this week that would scrap the Defense Department’s transgender ban, despite recent steps by the Pentagon to end the prohibition.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Monday announced the creation of a working group that will spend the next six months studying the implications of lifting the decades-old ban.

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"At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified," Carter said in a statement.

Speier said the DOD convening the working group is a “good first step, but time is of the essence for the thousands of active duty transgender soldiers who are currently in limbo.”

“The study group needs to come up with a comprehensive solution, not just lifting the ban but addressing transgender service members’ health care needs and updating appropriate policies on issues such as uniforms and discharge paperwork,” said Speier, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, in a statement.

She said she would introduce a “comprehensive bill” later this week to lift the ban on transgender troops and establish a road map to open transgender service.

The measure, which has been in the works for weeks, will likely call on the Pentagon to immediately grant anti-discrimination protection for all service members, and their dependents, who self-identify as transgender in any form.

The bill is also expected to direct the Defense secretary to hammer out new policies for transgender soldiers, from regulations about their uniforms to what treatments would be covered under Tricare, the military's healthcare system.