The legislation comes as states across the country have passed or are considering passing legislation to limit health care provided to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals and youth.
Panetta, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, introduced the legislation that would protect military service members’ dependents on the first day of Pride month, when the world’s LGBTQ+ communities celebrate their freedoms and individuality.
“Despite the progress that we have made in our fight for LGBTQ equality, service members and their transgender dependents continue to face hurdles that threaten their development,” Panetta said in a press release.
Blue Star Families, an advocacy organization that works with and supports military families, endorsed the legislation.
“We know from our research that location matters, and some active-duty families might even choose to separate from the service rather than relocate to an area where they might be discriminated against,” Kathy Roth-Douquet, the group’s CEO & co-founder said in a press release. “No family should be forced to choose between a sense of belonging and continued service to the nation.”
The legislation is endorsed by several advocacy organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, Modern Military Association of America and The Trevor Project, among others.