The Pentagon moved forward on the decision to lift the ban on openly transgender troops fighting for the US military Thursday. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, announced the decision to lift the ban, stating that the military will no longer discriminate against transgender troops.
According to USA TODAY, Carter’s final decision for lifting the ban on barring transgender troops from fighting was the expected outcome, as recently reported by the Inquisitr.
Reports claimed that The Pentagon planned to lift the ban on transgender troops by July 1. The Pentagon has kept their promise on the decision making it a day earlier than expected. Transgender troops will be able to serve openly after a year long quarrel on the issue.
Nevertheless, last-minute concerns were still raised by top pentagon officials regarding potential discrepancies with medical care and housing, along with uniform issues for transgender troops or troops who are making a transition to another sex.
Defense Secretary Carter gave his rebuttal.
“This is the right thing to do for our people and for the force. We’re talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission.”
The Pentagon is building on their wave of breaking down military institutional barriers as they previously removed the ban on women serving in frontline combat roles this year. Their only requirement is that they meet the same physical standards required by all troops.
And five years ago, the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was abolished.
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Pentagon Defense Secretary Carter announced last July that a study group had been conducted to analyze any complications that lifting the ban on transgender troops would have.
In addition, he ordered that before any Pentagon official made a decision to discharge troops with gender dysphoria, the issue first had to be brought to the attention of senior Pentagon officials.
This clause will effectively end the act of discharging transgender troops for medical reasons.
According to the lead author of RAND Corp. study -The Pentagon-commissioned study group working on the transgender troops case- there are currently between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender troops enlisted in the active-duty force out 1.3 million troops.
RAND also estimated an annual cost assessment regarding medical treatment of transgender troops. Between approximately 30 and 140 transgender troops would seek hormone treatment, and 25 to 130 would seek surgery.
Altogether the estimated amount that the Pentagon would have to spend annually after lifting its ban on transgender troops would range between an additional $2.4 million to $8.4 million total.
The Pentagon will author a training handbook on handling transgender troops By Oct. 1, three months after the transgender troop ban being lifted.
The handbook will include a section on the “guidance for changing a service member’s gender in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS).”
Carter announced, “At this point, the services will be required to provide medically necessary care and treatment to transgender service members according to the medical protocol and guidance, and may begin changing gender markers in DEERS.”
The lifting of the ban on transgender troops serving in the military is in full effect, but not without friction. Rep. Mac Thornberry (chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Texas Republican) expressed his concern about the acceptance of transgender troops, claiming that the cost effects would be detrimental to the well-being of the United States military and could bring down overall morale.
What do you think about the Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on transgender troops?
[Photo by AP Images/Alex Brandon]