Transgender Veterans Need To Correct Military Records, And Hope Ashton Carter Can Help

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The Huffington Post Politics
By Jennifer Bendery
March 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a splash last week by saying he’s “very open-minded” about transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

But if Carter is serious about revisiting the ban on transgender troops, he also needs to turn his attention to another issue: how the Defense Department responds to transgender veterans who need to update official military records to reflect their new gender.

There are more than 134,000 transgender veterans or retirees from Guard or Reserve service, according to a 2014 Williams Institute report. What’s at stake for each of them is the ability to change their name on the military form known as a DD-214, a lifelong document that military personnel receive when they retire or are discharged. Veterans use it to apply for college, to take a bar exam and to apply for jobs. Retirees use it to provide dependents with medical benefits and access to privileges they had while on active duty, like shopping on military bases.

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