Transgender Vets Will Receive New Military Paperwork Reflecting Their Correct Names

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soldiers2_md By: The Seattle Lesbian

The National LGBT Bar Association—the country’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied legal professionals—announced Wednesday that the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (BCMR) and Navy Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) will issue new military discharge paperwork (known as Form DD-214) to three transgender veterans, reflecting their correct names and identities. The veterans—Retired Army First Sergeant (Promotable) Dayna Walker; Retired Army Major Evan Young; and former Lieutenant Paula M. Neira, a Naval Academy Graduate—were represented by The LGBT Bar and Edwin G. Oswald and Stephen C. Lessard, both attorneys with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Mr. Lessard is also a member of The Bar’s Military Working Group.

“Today’s win is, in many ways, life-changing for transgender veterans,” said D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar. “Discharge paperwork follows veterans from the time they leave the service until, quite literally, when they die. It is used in nearly every aspect of post-military life, from medical care to employment, banking and even the name engraved on a veteran’s tombstone. Today’s decisions finally ensure that Dayna, Evan, Paula and other veterans receive the respect they deserve. The LGBT Bar is proud to have won this important victory.” [pullquote]“Today’s win is, in many ways, life-changing for transgender veterans. Discharge paperwork follows veterans from the time they leave the service until, quite literally, when they die. It is used in nearly every aspect of post-military life, from medical care to employment, banking and even the name engraved on a veteran’s tombstone.” —D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar.[/pullquote]

The veterans named in Wednesday’s winning decisions have distinguished military careers.  Walker has over 25 years of military service experience, serving in various capacities as a Military Police Officer, Special Reaction Team Commander and within the United States Army Recruiting Command. Young served as media officer for NORAD and USNORTHCOM. He was also a signal NCO at Fort Polk, Louisiana and at an attack helicopter brigade in Germany. Neira graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy, qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer and served in mine warfare combat during Operation Desert Storm.

Neira’s win marks the first time the Navy has issued new paperwork for a transgender veteran, and the Army decisions follow a similar victory, earlier this year, for Army veterans in New Jersey. The Air Force also issued corrected paperwork in the past, as noted in a Military Law Working Group report issued by The LGBT Bar in 2013. That report also outlines the legal arguments used successfully in The Bar’s three cases, as well as the earlier victories in New Jersey.

Kemnitz called on the Department of Defense to follow the recent victories with a policy directive making such decisions routine. Despite the recent wins, there is no known written policy outlining that such requests by other veterans also be granted.

“It is imperative that DoD ensure all veterans will have the ability to obtain new DD-214 paperwork,” Kemnitz said. “The best way to make today’s victory permanent and meaningful is to issue a directive making it official DoD policy.”

A copy of Wednesday’s decisions, along with The LGBT Bar’s Military Law Working Group report on DD-214 guidelines for transgender veterans, is available online at LGBTBar.org.

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7 Comments on "Transgender Vets Will Receive New Military Paperwork Reflecting Their Correct Names"

  1. Wow….am an Air Force trans vet…good to hear this!

  2. i just requested the Army correct me DD214, and other identifying document to reflect my current name and gender. They acknowledged receipt and said it could take a year. Do I also need legal assistance? Shouldn’t Army, Navy, etc establish procedures to deal with the volume of such requests, rather than just assume business as usual attitude?

    • willem dunham | March 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Reply

      where do you find the necessary forms to get the army started on the name change paperwork? my VA clinic was very swift in making the appropriate changes in their system and issued a new ID card promptly. would be really nice to have my DD214 reflect the change.

      does anyone know if they also re-issue the discharge certificate with the proper name?

  3. Outstanding

  4. Bobbi Sue Myles | March 24, 2015 at 11:43 am | Reply

    This is indeed great news as I am in the process of having all my ‘legal papers’ changed to my new Real name as well as having gender changed on birth Certificate. This will hopefully make one more thing easier for me to do.
    Formerly Robert W Myles discharged 72 honorable now am Bobbi Sue Myles after some cost and hassles

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