Law Offices of David P. Sheldon
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202-552-0018

Are transgender military discharges an injustice of the past?

A discharge, even if not dishonorable, can be a stressful event for any service member. Military procedures and rules can be unforgiving, and even an unintentional oversight might have serious consequences.

For example, some types of discharge may result in the loss of service-related benefits. For individuals who were planning on paying for college tuition under the GI bill, the loss of such benefits can provide a barrier to career plans. Similarly, the loss of separation or severance pay benefits can present hardships. 

I focus on many aspects of military law. My experience includes representing military clients in administrative discharge hearings. I understand the importance of fighting to preserve benefits, which may be contingent on receiving a separation with an honorable or general discharge. In other cases, a client may wish to fight for retention in his or her service.

My strategy for investigating and challenging the command’s case starts with documentary and testimonial evidence. I know that a discharge might present a one-sided story, and I can fight to set the record straight and obtain the best outcome. 

I have also helped clients seeking to have errors in their military records or discharge corrected. However, proper procedures must be followed, including a limitations period that is generally within three years of when the mistake occurred or should have been discovered. 

In regard to unjust discharges, the military’s changing attitude on allowing transgender troops to openly serve may open the door for future challenges. In fact, a recent article claims that top Pentagon officials have been meeting to develop a plan for incorporating transgender troops into the ranks.

Source: USA Today, “Dismantling military's transgender ban to begin Monday,” Tom Vanden Brook, July 29, 2015

 

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David P. Sheldon | International Military Law Attorney

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