The Pentagon announced on Monday that they’re looking into lifting the ban on transgenders serving in the military.
calling the ban on transgender troops “outdated,” Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, ordered a six-month study which would determine if removing the ban would impact the military’s effectiveness.
But Carter seemingly supports lifting the ban: the survey will begin with the assumption that transgender people should be able to serve openly, and will instead look for actual “objective, practical impediments.”
“The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions,” Carter said in a statement his office released on Monday.
“At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite.”
Over the next six months, transgender people will not be able to enlist in the military. But transgender troops already in the military would not be discharged, which is the current rule.
Currently, it’s estimated that more than 15,000 transgender people are serving in the military, most of them not openly. Much like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which kept gay men and women out of the military until 2011, it has forced certain groups underground, but hasn’t deterred them from joining the military.
If the Defense Department overturns the ban on transgender troops–which it looks likely to do, at the end of the six month study–it’ll remove one of the last specific bans on certain people serving in the military.