Transgender troops could openly serve in the US military as early as May next year.
A memo obtained by USA Today revealed that the Pentagon plans to end its transgender ban by 27 May 2016.
According to the document dated 19 August, a pilot program that would allow transgender troops to take a sabbatical while transitioning is also under consideration. It also must be decided whether transgender troops are eligible for deployment to war zones.
Last month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered a six-month review of the ban, under the ‘presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified.’
Troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria cannot be discharged during this period without approval from one of Carter’s chief deputies.
There are about 15,500 transgender troops actively serving in the US military, making the department of defense (DOD) the largest employer of transgender people in the country.
‘These courageous service members are forced to serve in silence by DOD medical regulations prohibiting their service,’ wrote Hayley Miller, senior digital media associate at Human Rights Campaign, wrote in a blog post.
‘These regulations are outdated and out of step with current medical practice. Unlike the statutory ban that interfered with lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from serving (known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) the ban on transgender military service is regulatory and only requires action by the DOD to update.’
This has been reposted from Gay Star News.