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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks' Meeting With LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks met with LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations to hear about the key issues affecting LGBTQ+ service members, and provide an update on department efforts to ensure all individuals who wish to serve in the military and can meet the accession standards are able to do so openly and free from discrimination.

She met with: Human Rights Campaign (HRC); National Center for Transgender Equality; Palm Center; Out in National Security; Minority Veterans of America; SPARTA; and interACT.

The deputy secretary last met with these organizations on June 29, 2021. Since that meeting, the Department of Defense has:

  • Fully implemented policies providing for the service of individuals who identify as transgender;
  • Adjusted military service policies authorizing individuals to access into the military in their self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met;
  • Enhanced policies and procedures associated with gender transition for service members;
  • Issued supplemental guidance to discharge review boards that expands current policies related to the evaluation of applications for corrective action regarding involuntary separations based on a service member’s gender identity.

Deputy Secretary Hicks thanked the representatives of each organization for their tireless efforts on behalf of LGBTQ+ service members and reiterated the department’s commitment to ensuring all service members are treated with dignity and respect.