Pentagon announces plan to lift transgender military ban News
Pentagon announces plan to lift transgender military ban

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter [official profile] released a statement [press release] on Monday announcing the comprehensive plan of the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] to move in the direction of allowing transgender troops to serve in the military. The DOD has ordered a six-month study to examine the “policy and readiness implications” of welcoming openly transgender persons to serve. The members of the study will be comprised of both civilians and military personnel of each branch. The DOD will also elevate all administrative discharges for those who identify as transgender and those diagnosed with gender dysphoria to the determination of Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson [official profile]. According to Carter, “We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

This announcement follows several major pushes in the US to address the rights of transgender individuals. Last week the American Medical Association (AMA) [official website] adopted a resolution [press release] stating that there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the military.” Also last week the US Air Force [official website] announced [press release] that all discharges for being transgender must be approved at the highest levels, a decision similar to that made by the US Army in March. In May the American Civil Liberties Union [official website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging a Michigan law that bans the state from changing a person’s gender on a driver’s license unless they can produce an amended birth certificate showing the correct gender. In April the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] issued a statement of interest [JURIST report] arguing that the Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to provide treatment for inmates with gender identity disorder.