Judy Troilo, Executive Director | The LOFT LGBT Community Center
Today, a historic event happened at The LOFT LGBT Community Center. On the steps of our center, United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand publicly introduced an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that would grant anti-discrimination protections for transgender service members.
Senator Gillibrand explained, “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination, we must ensure these protections are extended to every American, especially transgender service members who are willing to risk their lives for our country and make extraordinary sacrifices for our freedoms. Anyone who can meet the military’s standard should be allowed to serve and the current ban on transgender service members is an insult to every LGBTQ person who has given their life to protect our nation. I am proud to introduce this amendment, which will extend non-discrimination protections to servicemembers and will ensure that anyone who can meet the military’s standard can serve, regardless of gender identity.”
We at The LOFT firmly believe that this inclusion of protections is a vital step in achieving equality of our LGBTQ community who serve our country. This especially so for our transgender service members, who in particular, have experienced a reversal of rights and protections.
It's hard to fathom how this can still be an issue, but sadly, it is despite the overwhelming evidence that transgender people have no ill effect on military preparedness.
Gillibrand at today's press event shared that the arguments against open transgender service lack a basis in experience or science. Senator Gillibrand added that transgender individuals served openly in the military for over two and a half years without any readiness or cohesion issues, a fact confirmed by all four service chiefs and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
What's also important to understand is that our transgender community members in the military have been subjected to all manner of cruelty and harassment. Today we heard stories from two transgender service members, who while serving their country, were tormented, physically, and sexually assaulted before being discharged. This must end, which is why we wholeheartedly stand firm with Senator Gillibrand's efforts to pass this legislation.
We also want to express a heartfelt thanks to Senator Gillibrand for choosing The LOFT as a partner in making this important announcement. The LOFT LGBT Community Center has always been a safe space for our community and today we stand in solidarity with Senator Gillibrand in paving a way forward for making the military a safer workplace for all members of the LGBTQ community.