Ashton Carter: Transgenders Can Now Serve Openly

On June 30, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter lifted the ban on transgender persons serving openly in the military. He called his action “the right thing to do” as both a matter of principle and just being practical. In a televised statement, he said: “Effective immediately, otherwise-qualified service members can no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied re-enlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender. Our military, and the nation it defends, will be stronger as a result.” The statement was made during a Pentagon news conference.

He went on to say that one of the main reasons for the change was that the military needed access to the widest pool of talent. “We don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.”

TransgendersCarter also said that, according to a Rand Corp report, there are about 1.3 million active-duty military members – of which about 2500 are transgender. For the reserves, he said of 825,000 members some 1500 are transgender. He also said that inclusion was simply a matter of being fair to all persons.

“Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so,” he said. This latest change is only one of many that have taken place in the military since 2011, the latest being the lifting of restrictions on women being able to serve in combat arms.

Not everyone is happy with these changes, with some senior military leaders calling it nothing more than “social engineering” that will, at some time or another, impact the overall readiness and fighting ability of the US military.

There are currently 18 countries that allow transgender personnel to serve including: Israel, Chile, Britain, Australia, and Brazil.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain

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