Obama urged to take stance on military’s transgender ban in SOTU

In his State of the Union Address next week, a San Francisco-based group wants President Obama to take a stance on the military’s ban on transgender service members.

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Though the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed, allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, a ban still prohibits transgender people from serving the country. 

In a report last year, however, Palm Center said the Department of Defense deleted its list of medically disqualifying and administratively disqualifying conditions in August, opening the door for transgender people. Now only conditions that impair fitness for duty or deployment qualify.

“I urge President Obama to address the military’s ban on transgender service during his upcoming State of the Union address, and to clarify whether he supports this discriminatory policy,” Palm Center director Aaron Belkin said in a statement.

“While I applaud the President and his administration for the historic openness to reviewing the ban, now is the time for the President to lead by outlining his plans and goals for the policies that govern the estimated 15,500 transgender personnel serving currently in the armed forces.”

In December, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James called for the Obama administration to end the Defense Department's ban on transgender troops.