The Military May Soon Lift Its Ban on Transgender People

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has reportedly started the process of allowing individuals who are transgender to serve openly in the military. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

The Pentagon may announce a plan this week to lift the ban on transgender individuals in the military.

The goal is to formally end one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. If the announcement happens, “the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday,” in an Associated Press story.

The six-month time frame would ostensibly give military leaders enough time to figure out any legal, administrative or medical issues related to the ban, and develop training to facilitate the transition.

The AP story said Defense Secretary Ash Carter has asked his personnel undersecretary, Brad Carson, to establish a group of senior military and civilian leaders to consider the associated costs, housing, bathrooms, small team unit dynamics, any effect on military readiness and establish some of the details, such as uniform guidelines.

Transgender individuals would still not be able to join the military during that six-month period, and the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel would address any attempts to force out those already serving.

“We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so. And we must treat all of our people with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Carter said in an AP statement. “Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both.”

The estimated 15,000 transgender people who currently serve in active military duty and in the reserves in secret have something to look forward to.

In March, Diversity Executive covered the first policy shift that indicated the military might lift its ban on transgender troops. Read that story here.