Transgenders can soon openly serve in the military as the Pentagon commences a study of policy and readiness implications for transgender service members. The Pentagon has set up a working group to overhaul the department’s outdated regulations in relation with transgenders.
The group shall presume that transgender service members can openly serve in the military unless there are existing practical impediments.
Pentagons welcome transgender people openly
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that transgender people have always been with the department, serving in silence.
“Throughout this time, 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,” Carter said.
He said Pentagon’s current policies regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty as to how commanders shall designate some missions.
“At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite,” Carter said.
“Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit,” he said.
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Carter said he issued two directives that shall deal with the matter. First, he set up a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. The group will be headed by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work.
“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,” Carter said in his announcement.
The second directive is that Carter is directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or those who identified themselves as transgender must be elevated to Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.
“As I’ve said before, 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 our people with the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said.
“Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.”
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