During a May 11th appearance on ABC’s This Week, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the military’s ban on transgender individuals “continually should be reviewed.”
The Assocated Press reports Hagel did not take a position on whether the ban should be overturned; however, he stressed that “every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”
In 2010 the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military was lifted, but Hagel says the issue of enlisting transgender individuals is “more complicated.” He pointed out that such individuals often need medical attention that they might be unable to get in some locations with the military.
San Francisco State University recently calculated that over 15,000 transgender individuals are serving in the military currently.
Allyson Robinson, policy director for the LGBT military advocacy group SPART*A, said, “Many of our allies, including the UK, Australia and Israel, allow transgender people to serve with pride and honor in their armed forces. It’s time for the U.S. to join them.”
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