right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday that transgender people will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.
“Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so,” said Carter, laying out a one-year plan to implement the change. “Our mission is to defend this country, and 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.”
Under the new policy, by Oct. 1 transgender troops already serving should be able to receive medical care and begin formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system. And, a year from now, the military services will begin allowing transgender individuals to enlist, as long as they meet required standards and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months.
Carter’s announcement comes despite concerns from senior military leaders that the department is moving too fast and that more time is needed to work through the changes.