Sergeant Sam Hunt, a transgender soldier in the United States military. There are six other countries that allow transgender military personnel to serve openly. Photo/REUTERS
JAKARTA – The transgender community can participate as military personnel in several countries that have legalized it. Countries that allow lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) as military soldiers are mostly on the Blue Continent.
Some time ago, transgender soldiers appeared in the Ukrainian military corps who joined the war against Russia. She is Sarah Ashton Cirillio who was originally a journalist from Las Vegas.
The existence of LGBT soldiers in the Ukrainian military has actually not been legalized. However, the transgender army emerged at a time when Kiev was short on personnel and needed some volunteers.
There are at least seven countries that allow transgender military personnel to serve openly. Here is a list of countries:
According to a CBC report, Canada ended the ban on LGBT personnel in the military in 1992. Transgender soldiers such as Corporal Vincent Lamarre, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, are now openly serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Canadian military has previously urged the US military to follow their transgender policy.
2. United States of America
Citing an NPR report, the Pentagon announced a new policy that overturns President Donald Trump’s era rule that effectively barred transgender people from serving in the military.
This new policy goes into effect on April 30, 2021, whereby the US military allows its military members to make gender transitions both while still on duty.
President Joe Biden revealed to reporters that the order would allow all “qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform.”
3. The Netherlands
The Dutch military was the first to allow LGBT individuals to serve in 1974 and was also the first to set up an LGBT military support organization.
The Land of Windmills also has one of the most inclusive militaries for transgender soldiers, according to The Hague Center for Strategic Studies.
Since 2000, LGBT personnel have been openly allowed to serve in the UK military. Even at London Pride Week in 2017, all units of the British Army raised the rainbow flag and were joined by around 200 personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
According to the British Army website, an LGBT Forum for service members also exists to provide support to the LGBT community. They are free to perform sex reassignment surgery.
Although Germany only legalized same-sex marriage in late June 2017, it has allowed LGBT people to serve in the military for years.
In 1990, Germany first allowed gay people to serve in the armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr. Then in 2000, Berlin removed the ban on LGBT service members from becoming officers.
The Swedish Armed Forces is considered one of the most progressive in terms of LGBT inclusion. This started when members of the Swedish Parliament passed the Discrimination Act in 2008.
Swedish Armed Forces personnel such as Major Alexandra Larsson are transgender. She has been legally protected from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Since 1993, Israel has allowed openly LGBT people to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Shachar Erez is the first transgender soldier who has now become an international advocate for transgender rights for military personnel.
Erez traveled to Canada in April 2017 and met with senior Canadian Forces officials to discuss Canada’s policy on transgender issues in the military.
Apart from these seven countries, there are also several other countries that allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, such as Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France and Finland.
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