Leaked information regarding an upcoming announcement from the Pentagon suggests the institution aims to lift the ban on transgender service in the United States military this week. The rejection of transgender soldiers in the military is the last of the gender- or sexuality-based barriers preventing United States citizens from serving their country, a move that comes in light of the recent marriage equality laws enforced across the United States by order of the Supreme Court.
An announcement from the Pentagon is expected to be made later this week, a senior United States official suggested, alongside information that branches of the United States military will be offered a six month period during which they may assess the impact of the change. The evaluation of impact will include changes in healthcare costs and treatments, as well as housing units, with the goal of smoothing the transition.
A similar period was awarded to the United States military following the repeal of the ban excluding openly gay citizens from serving in the forces.
Studies suggest upwards of 15,000 transgender people serve in the active duty military today.
The cause of transgender discrimination in the United States military was first highlighted to the Pentagon back in 2013, following requests from convicted national security leaker Chelsea Manning requesting hormone replacement therapy whilst in military prison.
Manning, who had originally been arrested pre-transition under the name of “Bradley Manning,” was the first prisoner to request the health care method and was eventually awarded the hormone treatment amidst legal pressure in February.
Defence Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon had previously suggested discussions surrounding lifting the ban on transgendered people at a ceremony held for the Defense Department’s Pride Month back in June, during in a speech in which Carter expressed great support for the LGBT community.
“The Department of Defence has made a lasting commitment to living the values we defend – to treating everyone equally – because we need to be a meritocracy. We have to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the thing that matters most about a person is what they can contribute to national defence.”
Carter showed further support for transgender equality in the United States military, adding “we believe in getting to a place where no one serves in silence, and where we treat all our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with the dignity, and the respect, that they deserve”.
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