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05 Dec 2014 00:00
Transgender military personnel from Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and Canada at a conference in Washington, DC, in October on the challenges that they face. (AFP)
The United States army will “fully recognise” the new names of two transgender veterans, the American Civil Liberties Union announced this week, clearing the pair’s path to receive veterans’ benefits and giving new hope to transgender members of the military.
The veterans, named by the union only as Jennifer and Nicolas, received notice last week that the army had changed the gender statuses on their certificates of release or discharge documents. They can now easily receive veterans’ benefits.
The army board for correction of military records had elected to reject Jennifer and Nicolas’ request, but the board’s deputy assistant secretary overrode that recommendation.
“This is about much more than a change on a piece of paper,” Jennifer said in a statement released by the civil liberties union.
“This is about the relief of knowing that when I apply for a job, or a home loan, or anything where my veteran status is relevant, I can do it as myself.”
“This small change in a personnel document means a huge change for veterans like me,” Nicolas, the other veteran, said in the statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights, among other human rights issues, and has campaigned for changes in the military, hailed the decision. – © Guardian News & Media 2014
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