After Historic Pentagon Policy Shift, Transgender Troops Can Now Fight Without Fear (VIDEO)
Transgender Americans Have Just Had A New Wall Of Discrimination Come Crashing Down
As of today, transgender Americans can now serve their country openly and proudly in the military – an historic move forward for transgender rights.
According to The Hill, Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement on Thursday saying that effectively immediately, the ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military has been lifted. Up until today, soldiers could be discharged, separated or declined re-enlistment over their gender identity.
“The reality is we have transgender service members serving in uniform today. Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to do so.”
The New York Times reports that the Defense Secretary has had a progressive agenda in changing the way the military operates, focusing on the quality of candidates over their gender or sexuality.
In doing so, Ashton Carter opened up all combat roles to women and appointed the first gay Army secretary. His quest to do away with a ban on transgender soldiers began last year when he order officials across the military to look at how they can facilitate lifting the ban.
“[It’s} a matter of principle. Americans who want to serve and meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to do so. We don’t want barriers limiting a person’s qualifications to serve.”
Mother Jones reports that, in one year, new recruits who have been deemed “stable” in their preferred gender identity for 18 or more months may apply for the army. Those transgender soldiers already enlisted will have the ability to use military medical facilities in three months instead of having to go to hospital outside the military and pay out of pocket for treatment related to their gender identity.
Sadly, in a handful of conservative states like North Carolina, Republicans and social conservatives would still like to prevent these transgender men and women who serve their country to not have the freedom to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.
Feature image by Scott Olson/Getty Images