Earlier this week, our friends at the ACLU of New Jersey announced a historic victory: For the first time, the federal government has agreed to update critical military paperwork for transgender veterans that reflects their true gender identity.
As we told the New Jersey Law Journal, “This is the first time we’ve ever had anything clearly written out that says those who serve should have their identity documents reflect who they really are. It’s written incredibly compassionately and with understanding of the circumstances of the individual involved.”
It’s also a result of The Bar’s hard work on behalf of the transgender community.
In 2013, our Military Working Group issued a groundbreaking report – originally started during a 2012 Lavender Law plenary – clearly outlining how, and why, the armed forces could make this critical change. We’re very proud that report was the foundation of the victories announced Monday. The legal director who oversaw the case told the Journal that she “relied on the white paper issued by the LGBT Bar Association in favor of name changes on DD-214s for transgender veterans.”
It’s a perfect example of what The Bar does best: bringing together the profession’s best legal minds to collaborate . . . to connect . . . and to win. As a result, what began as an idea at our Annual Conference and Career Fair turned into a powerful legal tool for a dedicated, and talented, legal advocate at the ACLU.
Now, we’re hard at work making sure this monumental victory applies to every transgender veteran, including the three whose cases we brought to the government last year. We will continue our fight until this win translates into a permanent policy change that helps all veterans from all branches of the armed services.
I hope you’re as proud of this win as we are. If you are, please consider a tax-deductible gift in support of our work to build on our success, and win again.
Together, our lawyers are changing lives. Thank you for being part of that work.