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Transgender service members no longer banned from military

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says transgender military ban is lifted.
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 No longer will transgender men and women be banned from open service in the military.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced today that after a year of promising to update Department of Defense (DoD) regulations in regards to transgender service members and work within the department to assess exactly how to make those changes, they have finally reached a conclusion by lifting the ban. 

“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."

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) said in a statement today that they applaud Secretary Carter’s announcement, and that it means a lot to the transgender enlisted and their families. 

"We are incredibly grateful to Secretary Carter for bringing this promise to fruition. While we still have progress to make, today is truly historic and our military families will be stronger as a result of these critically important and long overdue changes," Ashley Broadway-Mack, President of the AMPA, said.

Transgender servicemembers are deservedly happy about ban lift, “This historic change means that I can finally serve openly and proudly as who I am -- a soldier who loves my country and just happens to be transgender," said AMPA member Nick Melvin. "A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder. I can continue serving my nation and support my family, which means the world!" 

James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also praised Carter’s announcement, “This policy should be quickly implemented so that all qualified individuals who want to serve have that opportunity.”

Currently there are an estimated 15,000 transgender people serving in the United States military.