The U.S. military will no longer prohibit the service of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has announced.
Carter made the announcement at the Pentagon June 30 and said the decision was based on the findings of a study he commissioned last July. He added that the policy was being implemented for three reasons: to be inclusive of transgenders currently serving, to welcome transgenders into military service in the future, and what the Obama administration defines as "principle."
"As a result of the yearlong study, I'm announcing today that we are ending the ban on transgender Americans in the United States military. Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," Carter said during the press conference.
"Our mission is to defend this country," Carter added, "and we don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission."
According to the Department of Defense, it is unclear just how many transgenders are in the U.S. military now, but the department has estimated that "7,000 active and reserve transgender service members on the upper end now wear a military uniform." The number is 2,500 on the lower end of the spectrum.
This article continues at [Christian Examiner] Pentagon lifts ban on transgender troops, effective immediately