US Defense Department officials announced on Friday a plan to lift the ban on transgender military troops. The repeal will be introduced on July 1.

Next month, The Pentagon will launch next July 1 a withdrawal to revoke a policy that bans transgenders to serve openly in the military. US Defense Department officials declared on Friday that the regulation represents one of the last barriers that the army service faces nowadays.

US Defense Department officials announced on Friday a plan to lift the ban on transgender military troops. Photo credit: Liberty First News
US Defense Department officials announced on Friday a plan to lift the ban on transgender military troops. Photo credit: Liberty First News

Service members plan to introduce the repeal on July 1. The decision came to the end after a year of wrangling among service’s branches. The Pentagon plan looks for changes in policies covering housing, uniforms and recruiting for transgender troops. If approved, the repeal would come into effect immediately, as per US Defense Department officials.

The process to lift a ban on transgender troops started one year ago. After taking possession of his post in February 2015, Ashton B. Carter, Defense Secretary, was the first to get together military branches to determine what sort of measures should be taken or considered to carried out the removal of the ban. Considering the number of thousands of transgender soldiers, Carter called the ban as obsolete and harmful to the military members.

Last year, while deciding what actions should be considered to repeal the prohibition of transgender groups, Carter announced that it will definitely be lifted unless it is proved that the plan would have “adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.” Otherwise, he considers that it is time to demolish barriers within the army members. Transgender troops ban affects a significant fraction of the military’s 1.3 million active duty members. The number of transgender people within the military ranges from 2,000 to more than 15,000 active members.

Senior military leaders plan to meet on Monday to finish up details that will be included in the repeal. The plan then will be presented to Deputy Defense Secretary, Bob Work, to sign the plan by Wednesday. The final approval lies on Carter, the public announcement of the project is expected to take place on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend.

Most military officials agree that the plan is a great initiative of inclusion in the forces: “(military members) are making significant progress, holding multiple meetings and working hard to come up with a policy that balances the needs of soldiers with mission readiness. They’re trying to come up with something that fits the needs of all of the different services, ” said Eric Pahon, a Defense Department spokesperson.

Further, Ashley Broadway-Mack stated in a statement that the measure will bring transgender service members and their families relief and satisfaction. According to her, transgender troops will no longer feel like part of an excluded group from the military branches. In turn, they will feel welcomed and included in the system they voluntarily chose to be part of.

“Soon, anyone who is qualified will finally be able to serve our great nation, regardless of their gender identity. We are eagerly anticipating the details of this historic announcement, and we are incredibly grateful for the leadership Secretary Carter has shown in getting us to this critically important point for our military families,” expressed BroadwayMack. 

Ashley Broadway-Mack is the current president of the American Military Partner Association, a support group for partners and spouses of, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender troops and veterans within the military forces.

Since the policy “Don’t ask, don’t tell” ended up in 2011, military members have tried to implement rules in which openly homosexuals and bisexuals military members could openly serve in the force. However, the transgender people were still banned because their lifestyle was considered as mental disorders that incapacitate them to provide services in the military.

The US “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibited active members to demonstrate a propensity or intent openly to engage in homosexual acts because such behavior would represent a risk to the high standards of discipline, good order, but mostly moral, that depicted the essence of the military force. This law runs out from 1993 until 2011.

Dismantling discriminatory rules in the services will be cheaper

However, it is not the first attempt of Carter to lift the ban on transgender troops. According to a study requested by Secretary Carter, transgenders openly serving will bring the little cost to the forces and their sexual preferences would not intercede on unit readiness.

The study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, determined that about 2,450 active-duty members of the military were transgender and that, per year, 65 active members would seek medical treatment for gender transition.

Researchers also estimated long-term consequences in members’ health when they do not count with financial support to carry out gender change. It was proved that if the Pentagon did not cover medical procedures like hormone therapy or surgery, military members would seek relief in drugs abuse and, some of them, in suicide.