US DoD to lift ban on transgender service members
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is reportedly planning to lift a ban on openly serving transgender service members next month.
The announcement comes five years after the US military decided to end the ban on openly gay and lesbian service personnel in 2011, Reuters reported.
This declaration to repeal the transgender ban comes after Eric Fanning joined the US Army as new secretary last week. It has been backed by campaigners for transgender rights.
Upon repealing the law, every branch of the armed services is required to implement new policies in recruitment, housing and uniforms for transgender personnel.
American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack was quoted by media sources as saying: "Our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief."
Figures released by the National Center for Transgender Equality show that close to 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the US military, the BBC reported.
House of Representatives Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry said that Defence Secretary Ash Carter did not answer the panel's questions about 'readiness challenges' for transgender service members.
"If reports are correct, I believe Secretary Carter has put the political agenda of a departing administration ahead of the military's readiness crisis," added Thornberry.