In a major victory for the transgender community, the Pentagon on Thursday stated that it will lift the ban on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement in the wake of a year-long study of the issue, the striking down of the military’s harmful “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and after witnessing the undeniability of key roles played by women and members of the LGBT community in the armed services.
“This is the right thing to do for our people and for the force,” Carter said. “We’re talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission.”
Carter continued, highlighting that the Pentagon needs “access to 100 percent of our population to develop the military force the nation needs.”
The announcement breaks down one of the only remaining barriers to military service by any individual, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.