Pentagon announces plan aimed at lifting transgender ban

In this July 7, 2015 photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the Pentagon’s current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated, and anyone willing to serve the country should be able to do so.

Carter is creating a working group to do a six-month study on the impact of lifting the ban. Carter says the group will begin with the presumption that transgender people should be able to serve openly.

The plan, which was first reported by The Associated Press, gives the services time to work through questions about health care, housing, physical standards, uniforms and costs associated with the change.

During that time, transgender individuals would still be unable to join the military, but decisions to force out those already serving would be referred to the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel.

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