TAVA's Position Statement on the President's SOTU address

The following is the Transgender American Veterans Association’s (TAVA’s) Position Statement on the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address. It was forwarded to Pam’s House Blend by Monica Helms, the TAVA Executive Director.

On January 25, 2011, millions of Americans watched President Obama’s second State of the Union speech. He left out one important group of Americans when he said:

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

Should the President be serious about opening the doors to potential troopmembers from every corner of this country, then allowing transgender people to serve openly would be a required step..

Allowing military recruiters and ROTC programs back on university and college campuses would not further equality under the law. This is because that along with sexual orientation, most universities and colleges have non-discrimination policies that include gender Identity and/or gender expression. Allowing ROTC programs back on university and college campuses before allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military services would violate the intent of antidiscrimination policies these universities and colleges currently have in place to protect transgender people from discrimination.

At this time, students at Harvard and Stanford are working on insuring their campuses will still bar recruiters and ROTC programs until ALL Americans have the right to serve openly. TAVA supports the efforts of these two universities — and the efforts of any other institute of higher learning that follows these two schools’ examples.

The antidiscrimination message we want the president to hear is that all discrimination needs to be eliminated. Having colleges and universities continue their current policies that disallow recruiters and ROTC units on their campuses sends that message, especially regarding transgender people and military service.

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