US lifts ban on transgenders to serve in the military

US lifts ban on transgenders to serve in the military

US lifts ban on transgenders to serve in the military
In a historic decision, the Pentagon has lifted the ban on transgender Americans to serve in the United States military, a move which is being hailed across the country.

"We are ending the ban on transgender Americans in the United States military," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

"Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," he said.

He said the gender identity of an otherwise qualified individual will not bar them from military service or for any accession program.

"In taking the steps, we are eliminating policies that can result in transgender members being treated differently from their peers based solely upon their gender identity rather than upon their ability to serve and we are confirming that going forward we will apply the same general principles, standards and procedures to transgender service members as we do to all serviced members," Carter said.

According to a RAND study, there are about 2,500 people out of approximately 1.3 million active-duty service members and about 1,500 out of 8,25,000 reserve service numbers are transgender, with the upper end of their range of estimates of around 7,000 in the active component and 4,000 in the reserves.

Lifting the ban on transgender Americans serving in uniform is an issue of fundamental fairness, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi said. "No longer will transgender people in uniform suffer the injustice of being forced to leave the service because of who they are or their gender identity," she said.

However the Republican party was critical of the decision claiming the Obama Administration is trying to implement its "social agenda". "Our military is facing historic readiness shortfalls, putting our service members' lives at greater risk. Addressing this crisis should be the sole focus of Obama administration but instead they continue to be more interested in forcing their social agenda through the DOD," Senator Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said.

The New York Times welcomed the decision. "For transgender troops who are serving openly now, these changes lift a cloud of uncertainty that held back careers and gave them little recourse when they were subjected to discriminatory and sometimes hostile treatment," the daily said in an editorial.
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