With so many barriers to LGBT equality being broken in recent years — and this historic Supreme Court ruling striking down same-sex marriage bans — the military is going to tackle its last discriminatory practice.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Monday that the Defense Department will study "readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly in the military."
In a press statement, Carter said the Defense Department always learns and changes and adapts.
“This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as [mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles],” Carter said. “It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women.
“Throughout this time,” he continued, “transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.”
Carter says regulations banning transgendered persons from serving in the military are outdated and are a distraction from the military's core missions.
“At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite,” he added. “Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.”