The United States military could be one step closer to lifting the ban on transgender individuals who wish to serve in the armed forces, a report says.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the Defense Department will be announcing a six month process in which all of the armed services will study the impact of integration of transgender individuals.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has tapped his undersecretary for personnel, Brad Carson, to form a group of senior military and civilian personnel to study the practical effects of this change, including costs and whether or not it will affect readiness. Uniform guidelines will also be discussed, the AP report said. Transgender individuals will still not be allowed to join the military during this phase, though officials told the AP that those already serving who are transgender will be referred to Carson’s office.
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“We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so,” Carter said in a statement to the AP. “And we must treat all of our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both.”
A movement to end the ban on transgender individuals started when Bradley Manning was convicted of espionage charges in August 2013. Not long thereafter, Manning presented herself as a woman, Chelsea, and requested hormone treatment from prison, which the Army approved in February.
Assuming the Pentagon lifts the ban, it will be first ban lifted based on sexual orientation since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) was overturned in 2010, enabling gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
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