The Pentagon has ended its longtime ban on transgender persons serving in the military. Now, people who identify as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth are eligible to serve in the military.
The new policy goes into place immediately.
BREAKING: Transgender service members will now be able to serve openly in military - U.S. Secretary of Defense. https://t.co/c5C588jKtM— Reuters Live (@ReutersLive) June 30, 2016
An estimated 15,000 troops are transgender.
In 2011, the U.S. Military lifted its "don't ask, don't tell" policy and permitted homosexual troops to serve openly.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced last year that the Pentagon would study the possibility of ending the transgender ban. As a result of this study, the ban will be ended and troops will no longer be discharged after disclosing their gender identity.
Carter explained that while the ban will be officially lifted as of today, there will be coming changes throughout the year to seamlessly accommodate transgender troops. Within 90 days, there will be guidebooks for leaders of trans troops as well as medical protocols concerning the treatment of transgender troops. The U.S. Military, according to Carter, would not be paying for any medical treatment that is not deemed "medically necessary" by a transgender troop's physician.
Within a year, the military will begin accepting transgender recruits, as long as they have transitioned and been stable in their gender for 18 months. If a serviceman comes out as transgender while serving, they will receive "medically necessary" care as determined by a doctor, which may or may not include surgery.
This post has been updated.