Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday paved the way for transgender people to serve in the U.S. military.

Carter’s plan, released in a statement, operates “on the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.”

According to The New York Times:

The plan would end what is seen as one of the last discriminatory rules about who can enlist or be commissioned in the military. It would also represent a tacit recognition of the fact that thousands of transgender people already are in uniform.

Some estimates put the number of transgender people in the military at 15,000. Yet much like gays and lesbians under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy,which was lifted in 2011, the current rules have forced transgender people into a precarious existence in the ranks. The lucky ones have superiors who look the other way; the less fortunate must keep their transgender status a secret, leaving themselves open to harassment or expulsion if their colleagues found out the truth.

Since taking over the Pentagon this year, Mr. Carter has signaled his unhappiness with the current policy, as have other senior civilian defense officials.

Read the article here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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