The Pentagon Just Ended The Ban On Transgender Troops

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
Update: The Pentagon announced Thursday that the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military is being lifted immediately, CNN reports.

This story was originally published on June 26, 2016.

The Pentagon is set to end the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military in July, according to officials from the Department of Defense.

USA Today
reports that each branch of the military will have one year “to implement new policies affecting recruiting, housing, and uniforms for transgender troops.” USA Today also cites July 1 as the targeted date for the announcement, however, other reports do not specify an exact date.

Last year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the ban would be lifted unless a review showed that doing so would have “adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.” This sparked a heated debate within the Department of Defense.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican who chairs the Armed Services Committee, has also been vocal about how lifting the ban would impact the military in terms of cost — and has been particularly concerned with how far the Pentagon would go to provide medical treatment for transgender troops, especially if that included costs of hormone therapy and surgery.

After news broke of defense officials moving forward with lifting the ban, Thornberry issued a statement saying, If reports are correct, I believe Secretary Carter has put the political agenda of a departing administration ahead of the military’s readiness crisis."

It is unclear how many transgender people might be serving in the military and have been forced to conceal their gender identities for fear of being discharged. However, a study by the RAND Corporation estimated that 2,450 of the 1.2 million active-duty members of the military are transgender while a study by UCLA estimated there could be as many as 15,000.

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