Coast Guard Adds Sexual Orientation to its Non-Discrimination Policy

PappIn a guidance memo made public Thursday, the Coast Guard announced it has now added sexual orientation to its equal opportunity and anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policy statements. The guidance was dated Oct. 13th and signed by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp (pictured right).

The Washington Blade reports:

"We must continue to uphold our core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty which underlie our excellence in mission execution, good order and discipline, and morale," Papp writes. "Maintaining workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination is essential to our readiness and to ensure we remain, Semper Paratus, Always Ready.

Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partners Association, commended Papp for taking action to protect gay members of the coast guard and said the Pentagon should make similar policy for other branches of the armed forces.

"We urge the Secretary of Defense to do the same in order to ensure all uniformed service members are protected from unjust discrimination, not just those in the Coast Guard," Peters said. "While Department of Defense civilian employees are protected, the DoD has yet to add orientation to its non-discrimination policy for uniformed troops. This lack of inclusion has a direct impact on not only the service member's ability to serve openly and honestly without fear of harassment, but their spouse and family as well."

Gender identity, however, was not included in the new policy changes.

Brynn Tannehill, director of advocacy for the LGBT military group SPART*A, commended the Coast Guard for adding the protections, but said the service is unable to change transgender policy because it's "modeled after that of the DoD's."

"We believe that it is time to revisit these outdated policies," Tannehill said. "The SPART*A Transgender Chapter has members who are part of the Coast Guard. The existing medical policies on transgender Coast Guard service are every bit as harmful to them as DADT was to lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, and have nothing to do with their actual ability and desire to serve." 


  1. Jack says


    But before you guys freak out about there not being trans protections, just remember that’s not in the scope of the individual branches to add any such protections. Transgendered people are medically disqualified from service based on DoD regulations. Just like California can’t decide to declare war on Madagascar, the Coast Guard cannot begin to admit transgender applicants.

  2. Matthew says

    Jack – Why would anyone be freaking out about that? The vast majority of people here are gay, not transsexuals or crossdressers. There’s only a small number of trans-obsessed weirdos who come here, posting under multiple names, to foist “LGBT” on the rest of us.

    Not only do I not care that the Coast Guard didn’t alter its policies regarding transgenders, I am delighted to hear that they distinguished between sexual orientation and so-called “gender identity”. In other words, the Coast Guard gets these are 2 separate and distinct concepts, something that every gay and lesbian person understood up until the invention of the fraudulent idea of “LGBT.”

    As for whether the policies should change at some point, any policy change regarding “gender identity” or “gender expression” would implicate a raft of serious issues that would need to be carefully studied by the Pentagon before any action is taken.

  3. Kyle says

    Matthew – Oh buzz off. No one cares about your ~transjacking~ preaching, people that are transgender are people that should be respected and not given crap by people like you.

  4. Mikey says

    Well, Matthew, I’m a gay man who has no interest in dressing like a woman, but I very much support the rights of the trans community.

    You know what I don’t care about? Your small-minded opinion.

  5. Jack says

    Matthew, I am sorry that you took my short analysis and comparison on the continued denial of protections for transgender service members as an invitation to spew hatred.

    I am also not transgender. I am also neither a woman, nor terribly poor, nor a racial minority, yet it is still within the scope of my humanity to demand gender, economic and racial equality, as well as equal rights and accommodations for our transgender brothers and sisters. It is also within yours, and I hope that someday soon you can tap into your energy for gay rights and realize that it is only logical and practical to extend it for use in the fight for transgender Americans.

    Equality denied for some is not equality for anyone else at all. We should feel uncomfortable and outraged that discrimination exists for anyone in this country, whether or not we belong to the discriminated group.

  6. says

    “There’s only a small number of trans-obsessed weirdos who come here, posting under multiple names … ”

    You just described yourself, @Matthew. The rest of us, who don’t post under multiple names, support steps forward like this, while also supporting protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Jack and Kyle and Mikey said it well, and clearly Towleroad doesn’t support trans-exclusion, so perhaps you’re visiting the wrong site to express your transphobia.

  7. patrick says

    The last thing DoD wants is to wade into this quagmire. The various forces would then be forced to pay for all manner of sex change operations, hormone therapy – basically what these groups are now clamoring for in the prisons.

  8. Francis #1 says

    Ignoring the transphobic trolls, this is a positive step in the right direction. The four major military branches need to do the same but there’s been no indication of movement towards a specific policy banning anti-LGBT discrimination in those branches. Reportedly the lack of a clear discrimination policy keeps many troops closeted. Hopefully this step by the Coast Guard gets the ball rolling.

  9. Armando says

    Transgender people are worthy of respect and basic human rights because they are human being. In things relating to the government we have a reasonable expectation to equality under the law. That all we’re talking about here.