Hillary Clinton cheered Saturday in an exclusive statement to the Washington Blade the Pentagon’s decision this week to lift the prohibition on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces.
“I am proud of the decision to lift the ban on allowing transgender troops to serve openly in the military,” Clinton said. “This decision will allow thousands of brave soldiers who are deeply committed to defending our nation to serve with dignity and respect. Having the world’s best military doesn’t just mean having the best-trained, best-equipped forces or the biggest arsenal — it also means being a leader on issues of equality and opportunity.”
But the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said work on LGBT rights isn’t done, adding, “Now we need to finally pass the federal Equality Act and end discrimination against LGBT Americans once and for all in employment, housing, and other aspects of public life.”
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced after a year-long review the medical regulation barring transgender people from serving in the U.S. military would be lifted “effective immediately.” The defense chief laid out a year-long implementation plan that includes full coverage for transition-related health care, including gender reassignment policy, and adding transgender status to the military’s non-discrimination policy.
The presidential campaign for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t respond to the Blade’s request to comment on openly transgender military service.