13 July 2015

Defense Secretary Announces Plan Aimed At Lifting Transgender Ban

Ever since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, the US Armed Forces has had only one ban based on gender or sexuality: the one that keeps transgenders from serving.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter says this ban is "outdated".  He is assembling a working group that will determine whether lifting the ban will have any impact on the Forces' combat-readiness.  Carter says that the group is beginning with the assumption that trans people should be able to serve openly "without adverse effects on military readiness and effectiveness, unless and except where practical, objective impediments are identified."

His plan give branches of the Armed Forces time to work through legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease transition.  Senior leaders believe six months will be sufficient time for this process.

During that time, trans people still won't be allowed to join the military.  However, any decisions to force out those already enlisted will be referred to Brad Carson, Carter's personnel undersecretary and the leader of the working group.