President Barack Obama has nominated two gay and transgender veterans to serve in the Pentagon.
The White House on Tuesday said the nominees, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Daniel A. Smith and Lt.
Col. Richard G. Hwang, were selected for their commitment to promoting equality for all Americans.
In a memo released Tuesday, Obama said they would serve as a part of a senior officer corps with the goal of achieving equality for LGBT Americans.
The nominations are a boost for Obama’s push to end discrimination against LGBT people in the military and at home.
The Pentagon has long been plagued by discrimination and lack of gay-friendly policies, and many gay men and lesbians are being forced to leave the service.
The Trump administration has been more progressive on the issue, with a new policy easing restrictions on transgender service.
President Donald Trump has also said he plans to allow transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces.
Smith, who served in the Air Force for 15 years, is the latest veteran to be nominated to serve at the Pentagon, along with retired Airman Jonathan E. Cogdill, retired Lt.
Gen Scott R. McCord and Maj. Andrew P. McDaniel.
He was previously the deputy assistant secretary of defense for LGBT Affairs.
Obama’s administration has long struggled to keep pace with the growth of LGBT-friendly businesses and services, and a number of the nominees have had mixed reviews.
Obama has appointed transgender military personnel to serve with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and transgender people are allowed to serve on the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6.
The military has made some progress on LGBTQ equality in recent years, including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in military service.
But there are still significant barriers to equality.
For example, the military still does not offer transgender people access to bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.
Transgender people are barred from using the military’s federally funded gender-confirming surgeries.
And the military has not yet recognized same-sex marriage, which was legalized in California in 2015.
The president has said he wants to change that.