Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pentagon Changing Ban On Service By Transgender Individuals

In a statement (full text) yesterday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the military is changing its policy that currently bans service by transgender men and women.  He said in part:
The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions.... Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.... 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. 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.
Time reporting on the Pentagon's decision says that it is estimated that 15,500 transgender individuals are currently serving.  In his statement, Secretary Carter said: "transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms." [Thanks to Mark Goldman for the lead.]