House Democrats introduce bill to protect transgender military dependents
A group of 39 House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a new bill to ensure that transgender dependents of active duty service members have access to needed health care.
Led by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), the Armed Forces Transgender Dependent Protection Act would prevent the Defense Department from stationing service members and their transgender dependents “in states or countries that prohibit or otherwise restrict gender affirming healthcare and treatments” for them.
“Despite the progress that we have made in our fight for LGBTQ equality, service members and their transgender dependents continue to face hurdles that threaten their development,” Panetta said in a statement announcing the bill.
Republicans in more than 30 states across the country have passed or advanced legislation targeting transgender Americans, particularly students, in the past several months. Democrats and LGBT advocates have deemed such legislation as discriminatory and several lawsuits are expected to ensue.
Earlier on Tuesday, the first day of Pride Month, Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a law that prohibits transgender student athletes from playing on teams that align with their gender identity.
The Biden administration has taken steps to show support for LGBT rights.
In late March, the Pentagon released its new rules allowing open service by transgender troops, essentially reverting to the Obama administration’s open service policy.
But the Democratic lawmakers want to make sure the Pentagon goes a step further and install protections for the dependents of service members.
“Across America, Republican-led states have embarked on the discriminatory mission of legislatively outlawing medical treatment for trans Americans,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Ensuring that transgender children and spouses of active duty service members can access medically necessary treatment is a question of dignity, fairness, and civil rights.”