Breaking News!!: Washington, DC: Pentagon drops transgender troops ban.
The Pentagon will drop its ban on allowing transgender men and women to serve openly in the military.
The announcement at the Pentagon by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday, June 30th, 2016 follows extensive study by the United States military to remove one of the last discriminatory hurdles for military service, treating gender identity on par with race, religion, color, sex or sexual orientation.
“Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America’s population for our all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among them the most highly qualified and to retain them,” said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
The move came nearly 5 years after “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which was a 17 year old policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, formally ended.
At this moment, the Pentagon doesn’t have a precise count of how many transgender men and women are in the services in the United States military now, because they face discharge if they reveal their identities.
Despite the policy change, there are many senior military leaders who believe the Pentagon is moving too fast and has not yet resolved issues related to the plan.
In recent weeks, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has reportedly met with United States military chiefs to hear concerns and suggestions to ease the process, but the full policy must be completely implemented no later than Saturday, July 1st, 2017.