In a surprising announcement, the United States Defense Secretary, Ash Carter, has lifted a long-standing ban on openly transgender individuals from serving in the United States military. Much like the policy that stood on gay and lesbian individuals until recently, transgender individuals were not allowed to serve in the military if they were open and honest about their situation. A “don’t ask – don’t tell” policy was employed in the past, but all of that is set to change.
A lot has changed in the United States military over the past few years when it comes to inclusiveness. While there are still plenty of problems, such as the stories about the prevalent rape of officers, it is clear that steps in the right direction are being taken. The Defense Secretary was happy to announce that no transgender individual would need to hide his or her situation if they wanted to serve in the military. It is also the case that a transgender person cannot be fired for revealing their condition anymore.
Some Conservative politicians are not happy about the statement, saying that the United States White House was putting politics over practical policy, but it appears that the general reaction is a positive one. The ban has ended immediately, which means that transgender individuals who want to serve in the military are now free to apply. But they must have a stable gender for at least 18 months before they can seek entry into the military.
Transgender individuals who are already serving in the army in some capacity can now come forward about their condition without any fear of repercussions or dismissal. They are also entitled to receive all the necessary medical care about their situation. It means that transgender individuals can receive hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery if it is determined by doctors that it is the most appropriate course of action.
While the number of transgender individuals in the United States, let alone in the military, is not very high, they are one of the last groups of people who face true discrimination wherever they go. Many service men and women have served the United States with dignity and honor but were unable to reveal their true situation because of the ban. They are now able to come forward and live their lives out of the shadows. It also ensures that there are no barriers, beyond ability and desire, to any citizen who wants to become a part of the U.S. Military.