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Pentagon releases ‘human goals’ charter that excludes transgender civilian workers

Monday, April 28, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signs the Human Goals Charter during a ceremony at the Pentagon, April 28, 2014. DOD photo by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signs the Human Goals Charter during a ceremony at the Pentagon, April 28, 2014.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Monday released its Human Goals Charter, a document that outlines the guiding principles for the treatment of Department of Defense uniform and civilian workforce that, for the first time, affirms gay and lesbian military service members.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey signed the document at a Pentagon ceremony, where Hagel called the charter an important milestone in the department’s history.

“Our most important resource is our people, (and) the values expressed in the charter are as old as America itself,” Hagel said. “They’re at the core of DOD’s mission as well.”

But the charter is already being criticized for failing to include transgender people.

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“While this is a positive step, it’s very disappointing that the Department of Defense missed this opportunity to make clear its commitment to equal opportunity for transgender civilian workers,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a statement.

Transgender civilian workers at the Department of Defense are already protected under sex discrimination laws because EEOC precedent makes clear that sex discrimination law protect transgender workers in all federal civilian contexts including the Department of Defense, but Keisling says the Pentagon should make this “make this explicit in its civilian EEO policy,” and remove barriers that “prevent transgender service members from serving openly and safely.”

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