Name change requests on discharge documentation for transgender veterans should be streamlined and expedited, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said on Tuesday.
Gillibrand formalized the push in a letter to Pentagon officials, pointing to the wait time for the military discharge documentation to be updated taking as long as a year and a half. In her letter, Gillibrand called on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to speed the process up to 90 days.
"Individuals who are willing to put on the uniform of our country and risk their lives to defend our freedoms should be received with commendation, not prejudice. We must no longer permit harmful and discriminatory behavior against transgender service members," Gillibrand said. "Veterans who transition after leaving the service should be empowered to update their DD-214 with their correct legal name without delay or repercussions. I am urging swift implementation of these protections for name change requests so that every service member can obtain identification that aligns with their identity.”
The discharge form for veterans when leaving active service is often requested by prospective employers and government agencies when seeking to verify military service.
Without the updated documentation, transgender veterans who have transitioned and have legally changed their names frequently have to explain the discrepancy when the records do not match their newer identification documents.