Transgender People Will Be Allowed to Serve Openly in U.S. Militaryby Matthew Rosenberg of The New York TimesJune 30, 2016
WASHINGTON â€” Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on Thursday removed one of the final barriers to military service by lifting the Pentagonâ€™s ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces.
The decision pushes forward a transformation of the military that Mr. Carter has accelerated in the last year with the opening of all combat roles to women and the appointment of the first openly gay Army secretary. He made his feelings on ending the transgender ban clear last year, when he called it outdated and ordered officials across the military to begin examining what would need to be done to lift the prohibition.
When Mr. Carter ordered that assessment, there were already thousands of transgender people in the military. But until Thursday, most have been forced into an existence shrouded in secrets to avoid being discharged, a situation much like that faced by gay men, lesbians and bisexuals before the lifting of the â€śdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ť policy in 2011.
Lifting the ban on transgender people has faced resistance from some at the highest ranks of the military, who have expressed concerns over what they consider a social experiment that could potentially harm the militaryâ€™s readiness and effectiveness in combat.
Several studies have reached the opposite conclusion, however, finding that lifting the ban is unlikely to have any appreciable effect on the readiness of the armed forces.
A study by the RAND Corporation
, commissioned by Mr. Carter, found that out of the approximately 1.3 million active-duty service members, an estimated 2,450 were transgender, and that every year about 65 service members would seek to make a gender transition.