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Pentagon seeks to remove ban on transgender military service.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (Getty Images)

“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.”

Defense Secretary Ash carter has ordered a six-month study aimed at ending the United States military’s outdated ban on transgender individuals. On Monday, July 13, Carter acknowledged the antiquated policy through a statement reading, “The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions.”

The primary goal of the study is to identify legal, administrative, and clerical hurdles that would stand in the way of the policy transition. Carter’s personal secretary, Brad Carson, will lead the initiative in developing official guidelines for the policy while taking an objective look at barriers such as cost, and related policies.

Some of the key concerns involved in the repeal of the ban include whether the military would conduct or pay for the medical costs of surgeries and other treatment associated with any gender transition, as well as which physical training or testing standards transgender individuals would be required to meet during different stages of their transition.

The current ban, in place since the 1970’s, declared transgender Americans categorically unfit to serve. Seeking to reverse this policy marks another step in the gradual, but ultimately successful, deregulation of requirements for individual military service.

“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, read Carter’s statement. According to the AP Press, surveys and studies have marked the number of transgender troops at around 15,000, despite the uniform ban on their military service. Carter said that the study will begin with the presumption that all transgender individuals should be able to serve openly, “without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified.”

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