U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter released a statement today confirming that America's "current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions."
Transgender Americans serve in the military at twice the rate of non-trans people, and a long-sought end to the ban on active duty transgender personnel will allow them to serve openly.
The repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy had no effect on the ban on active duty transgender servicemembers. Thanks to efforts by advocacy groups including Outserve-SLDN, SPART*A, and the Palm Center (funded by trans philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker) this policy will allow trans people an opportunity for employment and further the acceptance of trans people. Around the world, transgender servicemembers have openly served in other countries' militaries for years. Many notable trans people have served in the military, including trans pioneer Christine Jorgensen, Navy Seal Kristin Beck and Amanda Simpson, Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives. Other notable trans servicemembers include Chelsea Manning, Aydian Dowling and Shane Ortega.