OutServe-SLDN, the organization which works for LGBT in the military reminds Americans of the importance memorial day, and TLDEF uses the importance of this day to push for recognition of Transgender people in the military:
Matt Thorn, Interim Executive Director, OutServe-SLDN:
"Today many will attend parades, BBQs and enjoy the day off but Memorial Day is more than a federal holiday. It is a day for us to pay the deepest respects for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to this country.
From the American Revolution to Iraq & Afghanistan wars the United States Armed Services have defended, protected and served our country with pride, diligence and strength.
On behalf of OutServe-SLDN, we thank those who have fallen for their sacrifice, we grieve with their families and we memorialize their service and lives.
In addition to honoring those who have fallen I would like us to take a moment to honor all of our armed service-members who were discharged under DADT. You also served and protected our country and paid a sacrifice for being who you are and loving who you love. This day is about remembering who we have lost and in a way we lost you. Because of DADT, we lost your service to this country, we lost the dedication you brought to the uniform, we lost your depth of knowledge because of a law and policy that never should have been.
The noise, anger and push you all made under DADT led to its repeal and has laid the path for those to openly serve today. There are no words or amount of time that will give solace for all that you have given up and lost but we deeply and unequivocally thank you for all that you have done for this country.
I hope that you all take today to keep our armed service-members in your thoughts as you enjoy the parades, bbqs and the day off.
In gratitude for the continued commitment, service and sacrifice of our armed service-member."
Statement from Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) Executive Director Michael Silverman:
“On this day set aside to honor the courageous men and women who lost their lives fighting to keep America secure, we pay special tribute to the transgender service members who died serving in silence, barred from being open about who they were. It is heartbreaking to know that they paid the ultimate price, yet could not be authentically themselves. We call on the Pentagon to lift the ban on open military service by transgender people now. The outdated medical regulations keeping the ban in place are harming the more than 15,000 transgender people currently serving in our armed forces.
“Defense Secretary Ashton Carter acknowledged this year when asked about open transgender military service: ‘I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.’ It is time for Secretary Carter to hold true to his word and take the proper steps to dismantle this outdated and discriminatory ban once and for all.
“Our close allies Australia, Canada, England, and Israel, and 14 other countries have successfully integrated transgender people into their militaries. The United States should follow their example. Like all members of the armed forces who continually put their lives on the line, transgender service members deserve the respect and dignity that come with serving openly.”