The US Military Officially Ends Ban On Transgender Service Members

​'Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly​'


It's official.

The US has ended the ban on transgender service members serving in the military.

During a press conference at the Pentagon on Thursday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said: 'Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they cannot be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.'


Carter, who has long lobbied for the bans removal and been a strong advocate for transgender rights in the military, called the former ban an 'outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.'

'We don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. 


'We have to have access to 100% of America's population,' he added. 

He explained the changes would come to effect next year but instructed commanders to 'start with the presumption that transgender people can serve openly without impact on military readiness.'

It's good news for the 2,450 service members currently in active duty who are transgender, who previously feared to come out. 

But for new recruits who identify as transgender, they won't be able to enlist until 2018 and will be required to show documentation to prove they have been living as their current gender identity for 18 months and are mentally and emotionally 'stable'.

For those who wish to begin their transition during their time in the military, Carter outlines they will receive medical care – including surgeries – and has instructed the Defense Department to amend the Military Equal Opportunities act to include a clause preventing discrimination based on gender identity.

Prior to the announcement Captain Jennifer Peace – a transgender Army Intelligence officer who has advocated for her right to serve – met with Carter and admitted she was proud to tell him she was transgender. 

'Not that it says anything about who I am, but that it highlights the accomplishments of my career that I have made despite that fact. I wanted him to see what a trans soldier is capable of contributing to the military,' she says. 

Cheers to that. 

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