Defense Secretary: We’ll Lift the Transgender Military Ban

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By: Christine Nicco/TRT Reporter—

Today, the Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued a statement that will lift the transgender military ban pending a six-month study to move onto the implementation phase of the proposed changes.

“At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified,” read Ashton’s release. “Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.”

The plan, which was first reported by The Associated Press, gives the service time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient. [pullquote]The plan, which was first reported by The Associated Press, gives the service time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.[/pullquote]

The DoD Secretary’s statement emphasized that “everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Current transgender service members should also benefit from Carter’s directives.

“We have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines—real, patriotic Americans—who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit,” he said.

An anonymous source told the AP that “the goal was to avoid forcing any transgender service members to leave during that [six-month period] time.”

The Human Right’s Campaign’s President reacted to the news with the following statement:

“We welcome and applaud the announcement by Secretary Carter that the military will at last conduct a comprehensive review of the outdated ban that has for far too long discriminated against qualified transgender Americans who simply want to serve their country,” said Chad Griffin. “The time for ending the military’s ban on transgender service is long overdue, and we are confident that the Pentagon’s review of this discriminatory policy will find what many have come to know is true: Transgender Americans have every right to serve their country openly and honestly, and their sense of patriotism and duty is no less than any other service member’s. Our military and our country will be stronger when this archaic policy is finally discarded and we look forward to that day.”

Read a more about this story here.

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