On Wednesday the United States Department of Defense held its fifth annual LGBT pride ceremony at the Pentagon. The event came five years after the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning openly gay people from serving in the armed forces was repealed by Congress, and a few weeks after Eric Fanning was sworn in as Secretary of the Army, becoming the first openly LGBT person to lead an American armed service branch.
“The fight for true equality in the LGBT community will continue as you move forward,” Army Undersecretary Patrick Murphy said at the event. The fact that Murphy emphasized the “T” in the acronym was significant, as the Defense Department is currently undertaking a review into the current policy banning trans people from serving in the armed services. The review, which was ordered a year ago by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, was originally supposed to only last for six months.
There is currently a moratorium on discharges of openly trans people in the military, however advocates for LGBT inclusion have criticized the department for dragging its feet on the review of the policy. According to The Palm Center, a think tank that focuses on LGBT issues, an estimated 13,000 trans people serve in the military.