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House Approves Speier Amendment Enshrining Rights of Transgender Individuals, Underrepresented Groups to Serve Openly in Military

July 11, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) was joined by 241 of her colleagues, including 10 Republicans, in approving her amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which safeguards the right of all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin, or sex – including sexual orientation or gender identity – to serve openly in the Armed Forces, so long as they meet gender-neutral standards. Rep. Speier’s amendment builds on President Harry Truman’s Executive Order that desegregated the military to ensure all those who meet standards and wish to serve can do so openly and proudly.

“Today is a watershed moment in the fight to celebrate and protect open transgender military service,” said Rep. Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee. “Courageous transgender servicemembers continue to fight for our country despite the President’s hateful ban and deserve to know we stand with them. Our country has a shameful history of preventing people from serving based on bias, ignorance, and malice. This is the first time Congress has voted to ensure that no discriminatory standard based on race, religion, national origin, or sex can prevent qualified individuals from serving their country. Our military is strongest when it embodies our nation’s values.”

President Trump’s ban on transgender service went into effect on April 12, 2019, and bars any openly transgender individual, aside from those already serving openly, from joining or serving in the military. This amendment would remove this cruel and capricious barrier to service by preventing the military from using factors related to gender identity when making recruitment and retention decisions.

Rep. Speier’s amendment has widespread support from advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, Palm Center, Modern Military Association of America, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and American Civil Liberties Union.

A copy of Rep. Speier’s amendment text can be found here.

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