Today, the Department of Defense published the policy updates for transgender military service. The policy updates restore the Department’s original 2016 policies regarding transgender service.
The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect.
The policies will be effective on April 30, 2021, affording the Military Services the necessary time to update service-level policies and provide guidance to Commanders, Service members, medical professionals, and other communities of practice as appropriate. During this period, the Department’s interim guidance of January 29, 2021 remains in effect.
The DoD Instruction 6130.03: Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction into the Military Services can be found here.
The DoD Instruction 1300.28: In-Service Transition for Transgender Service Members can be found here.
In 2012, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation, designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day.
The signing of the proclamation marked the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American troops from Vietnam — March 29, 1973. Only U.S. embassy personnel and support staff remained in South Vietnam until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
On March 16, 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation dedicating March as Women's History Month. "From earliest times, women have helped shape our nation," the proclamation reads. https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Features/Story/Article/2545824/dod-nation-celebrate-womens-history-month/source/GovDelivery/
Vol. 1, No. 1
Letter from the Editor
This March, the Global VMF Caucus is pleased to share the launching of its first newsletter with the celebration of the personal stories embodied in two themes: Military and Veteran Heroines and Military Caregivers. We welcome you to this first edition and encourage you to join the conversation as we remember, learn about, and celebrate the Women’s History Month with famous females in the military and the history of famous women caregivers who provided care to military service members, personal stories from before the Civil War up to the present.
First, we celebrate with a passage about Florence Nightingale, who rebelled against her wealthy British parents, and instead of becoming a “proper” high society lady, travelled to Scutari in the Ottoman Empire with 38 volunteer nurses who she had trained to treat the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War. Her greatest contribution was combating disease and death. And although she was not an U.S. citizen, the vivid graphs she made to back her public health campaigns convinced the powerful that deaths due to filth and poor sanitation could be averted - saving countless lives of U.S. allies.
We also celebrate Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to ever be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. She was best known as a feminist, abolitionist, and the first female doctor who during the Civil War quickly volunteered to provide medical care for the Union army. She frequently crossed battle lines to assist the wounded, and regularly treated civilians.
This newsletter is dedicated to serving you, and with this in mind, we ask you to use our Suggestion Box to provide us with ideas for future issues. Please let us know what issues you want us to write about as well as items you would like us to address in our twice-a-month VMF caucus meetings.
We hope you enjoy this first edition!
Bob Gould, Global VMF Caucus Co-Chair and EditorRead more
On Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a gunman killed at least eight individuals and injured others in Atlanta in yet another unspeakable tragedy. Most of the individuals lost are from the Asian American community.
Sadly, this is yet another example of the current threat facing our community. The rise in anti-Asian American violence and hateful rhetoric contributing to that violence in the United States cannot be ignored. Between March 2020 and February 2021, there have been 3,795 hate incidents reported by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in all 50 states and D.C., according to Stop AAPI Hate.
It is clear the derogatory anti-Asian language used throughout the past year continues to have a real-world impact. While President Biden’s condemnation of the violence against Asian Americans in his prime-time address last week is a good start, more political leaders need to speak out against this type of rhetoric and do more to support Asian American communities. More of us need to step up and speak out in our communities to make it clear that hate has no place here. Racist comments should not be brushed aside or ignored, they must be confronted and condemned. If it was not clear before, it is clear now that AAPI communities around the United States are targets of hate.
While this will not solve the racism problem in our country, we must continue to work together to pass common sense gun control legislation. Gun homicide (mass shootings, so-called “everyday” violence, and police-involved shootings) are a universal American threat that only make other social challenges worse.
Call your Senators to tell them to support handgun laws, including S591 and S763, which expand background checks.
Democrats Abroad condemns these acts of violence. We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community and our AAPI Democrats Abroad members. We must work together to speak out and stand up against this type of hate. These hate crimes must be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Hate against any of us affects us all.
We extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to last night’s shootings. We stand with you, we hear you, and we will fight with you to combat this wave of hatred and violence.
Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Chair
Cory Lemke and Emily Lines, Democrats Abroad Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus Co-Chairs
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex."
On March 17, the House of Representatives passed a joint resolution to remove the time limit placed on the Equal Rights Amendment (HJ Res 17) to the Constitution. Now this will move to the Senate. The House also voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a landmark bill that covers everyone.
From Shari Temple, the DA ERA Task Force Chair:
The ERA Task Force needs your help NOW.
Please contact your state’s senators.
Post your story by March 24. Login to Democrats Abroad before you post your story.
Your stories on why ERA is important to you will be included in hand delivered packets to all Congress members. They could help influence some Senators to vote for SJRes 1. Equal rights must be anchored in our Constitution so they cannot be undone with an executive order. Tell Congress your story – www.democratsabroad.org/era_stories.
Please join us in telling Congress why the ERA is important to you. The DA ERA Task Force will share your story with House and Senate members. Simply go to https://www.democratsabroad.org/era_stories. We want to see a story for your Senators. You can write as few as a couple of sentences or a full dissertation (but in 500 word increments). And you can even include a photo, ideally with a pro-ERA sign. Together, we CAN make a difference.
Thanks for your help in promoting the Equal Rights Amendment and equality for everyone in US.
Louisiana—March 20, 2021 Special Primary Elections
The State of Louisiana will conduct two special primary elections on Tuesday, March 20, 2021, to fill a vacancy for the 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Congressional District 2 includes nearly all of the city of New Orleans and stretches west and north to Baton Rouge. Congressional District 5 includes rural northeastern Louisiana and much of central Louisiana, as well as the northern part of Louisiana's Florida parishes in southeast Louisiana, taking in Monroe, Alexandria, Opelousas, Amite and Bogalusa.
You can check the status of your absentee ballot by contacting your election office directly.
Louisiana voters abroad need to request a ballot each calendar year you’d like to vote in.
- Registration: email, fax, postal mail, or online~
- Ballot Request: email, fax, or postal mail
- Ballot Return: fax, or postal mail~~
~ Online voter registration available only with LA state identification
~~ Fax for ballot return available only if voter arranges in advance with local election official
Election Deadlines for Louisiana Voters Abroad
CD 2 and CD 5 Special
March 20, 2021
Register to vote and request your absentee ballot at www.votefromabroad.org
Request that your absentee ballot be emailed to you.
Americans overseas must request their absentee ballots every calendar year. Best to do this now so you are ready for all 2021 elections! Some people missed out on voting in the November election because they had not requested their absentee ballots before the deadline! Register/Request your absentee ballot today! Make sure you are all set to vote in 2021.
Register To Vote Now--Make Sure You Get Your Ballot
Just go to www.votefromabroad.org and follow the prompts to fill out the form. We recommend you check the box to have your blank ballot sent to you by “Email/Online” or “Fax.”
After you’ve filled out the form, Email, Fax, or Mail your signed form to your Local Election Office.