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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks at a press conference on the Department of Defense's annual review of sexual assault in the military at the Pentagon May 1, 2015. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt/released.

Today, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the Pentagon will lift the ban on open and honest service by transgender service members.

Secretary Carter said, “First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.”

In March, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA)  launched a joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm the outdated regulations inflict on military families. The report notes, “No one should be forced to choose between defending the country they love and being true to their authentic self.”

“We are thrilled with Secretary Carter’s announcement that the Department of Defense is finally taking steps to lift the ban on transgender military service,” says AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “All qualified Americans should be able to serve our great nation, regardless of their gender identity. Lifting the ban will dramatically improve the lives of our transgender service members and their families by allowing them to serve authentically.”


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