Pentagon Will Soon Allow Transgender Troops to Serve Openly

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning / AP
June 22, 2016

The Pentagon will lift the ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the military in the upcoming weeks, Defense Department sources told reporters.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued a suspension on dismissing troops with gender dysphoria last year as the Defense Department worked to establish new standards, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The Pentagon confirmed that the agency was quickly approaching a consensus after defense officials convened for a "high-level" meeting Monday.

Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman, conceded the process "has taken some time" and that many want an immediate policy decision.

The Pentagon released a memo last year that said the ban would be repealed by May 27, 2016.

"It is important that we carefully consider the myriad of medical, privacy and service-unique issues so as to develop a policy that both ensures that service members who meet applicable standards are free to serve openly and addresses the readiness needs of our armed forces," Pahon said.

The new guidelines would have minimal impact on the service as a whole. Fewer than 2,500 of the military’s 1.2 million active duty troops are transgender and only 65 would seek annual treatment, according to a Rand Corp. report.

Brad Carson, the Pentagon’s former undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness who advocated to lift the ban, praised the report that changes would soon be announced.

"I am very proud to see an imminent announcement culminating in this change," Carson told USA Today. "The real accolades for this historic moment go to those brave transgender service members who raised their hands and demanded that their service and identity be recognized."