Helene Cooper: Pentagon Set To Lift Ban On Transgender People Serving In U.S. Military
The Pentagon next month will announce the repeal of a policy banning transgender people from serving openly in the military, Defense Department officials said on Friday, moving to end what has widely been seen as one of the last barriers to service. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has called the regulation outdated and harmful to the military. A year ago, he directed officials from all the military branches to determine what changes would be needed to lift the ban, in a tacit recognition that thousands of transgender people were already in uniform. Under the Pentagon’s plan, first reported by USA Today, each branch will put in place policies covering recruiting, housing and uniforms for transgender troops.
Pentagon set to lift ban on transgender people serving in U.S. military nyti.ms/28TKgIm
Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the American Military Partner Association, a support network for partners and spouses of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops and veterans, said in a statement that “our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief.” Estimates of the number of transgender people in the 1.2 million-member military range from 2,000 to more than 15,000. As with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that applied to gay men, lesbians and bisexuals until it was lifted in 2011, current rules have done little to keep transgender people out of the military. Instead, they have forced many to lie about their status and keep it a secret. Since taking the defense secretary post in February 2015, Mr. Carter has set about dismantling discriminatory rules in the services, including opening all combat positions to women. This week, Eric K. Fanning formally took over as Army secretary, becoming the first openly gay leader of a military service branch.