Pentagon lifts ban on transgender troops
Fri. July 1, 2016 10:35 AM by Carlos Santoscoy
At a news briefing, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that the armed services "don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications to serve."
"The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Carter told reporters. "We don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission."
While the change is effective immediately, it will take up to a year to implement new policies and train personnel.
"When the training is complete, no later than one year from today, the military services will begin accessing transgender individuals who meet all standards, holding them to the same physical and mental fitness standards as everyone else who wants to join the military," said Carter.
LGBT rights activists cheered the move.
"Today, we join in celebration with the thousands of brave transgender patriots who will now be able to serve our nation openly and with the deep respect they deserve," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. "Ending this discriminatory policy not only brings long-overdue recognition to transgender service members, it also strengthens our military and our nation. Our military will now be able to recruit the very best candidates, and retain highly-trained, talented transgender service members once facing discharge for no other reason than who they are. History will remember Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for his leadership in taking this historic and necessary step forward."
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