National Security

Pentagon Plans to Lift Ban on Transgender Individuals in Military

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning / AP

Leaders at the Pentagon are planning to lift the ban on transgender individuals in the military, according to anonymous high-ranking officials.

The Associated Press reported Monday:

An announcement is expected this week, and the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday. Military chiefs wanted time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.

During these six months, transgender individuals would not be permitted to join the military, though the goal is not to push any currently-serving transgender individuals out.

Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who was appointed to his post by President Obama at the end of last year, asked personnel undersecretary Brad Carson to task a group of high-ranking military and civilian leaders with looking at the costs of lifting the ban and the effects it could have on military readiness.

Transgender individuals are those that identify with a different gender than that with which they were born. Some transgender people choose to undergo treatments to adopt physical features associated with what they deem their true gender. Currently, transgender individuals are banned from military service.

The Associated Press cited a statistic first reported by the New York Times that estimates the number of transgender individuals serving in the military to be 15,000, or enough troops to form their own stand-alone infantry division.

Should this number be accurate, it would indicate that roughly one out of every 200 servicemen is transgendered.