Defense Secretary Ash Carter just went on TV to announce that the Pentagon is lifting its ban on transgender troops.
“I am announcing today that we are ending the ban on trangender-Americans in the United States military,” Carter said today at a press conference at the Pentagon. “Effective immediately, transgender-Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.”
You’ll recall that it was only a few years ago that the Pentagon also dropped its ban on gay troops, when Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
Carter said that approximately 4,000 to 11,000 troops, including reserves, are transgender.
Lifting the gay ban was big news, and the Republicans did all they could to block it. It remains to be seen if the Republicans in Congress do the same with lifting the trans ban.
The LGBT community has made remarkable advances during the Obama administration, with help from Secretary Clinton. And the fight for trans civil rights in particular have now accelerated at an astounding pace. In addition to lifting the military’s trans ban, we also saw the overwhelmingly negative response from the business community to North Carolina’s recent effort to ban trans people from public bathrooms.
The North Carolina GOP is now frantically trying to amend the legislation in an effort to stave off the NBA pulling next year’s all-star game from the state. So far, the GOP proposals have fallen woefully short.
It’s a new day for trans rights in America.