Pentagon announces plan aimed at lifting transgender ban

FILE - In this June 5, 2013, file photo Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, then-Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after the third day of his court martial. The Associated Press has learned that Pentagon leaders are finalizing plans aimed at lifting the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Senior U.S. officials say an announcement is expected this week. They say the military would have six months to determine the impact and work out details, with the presumption that they would end one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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Ash Carter says the Pentagon’s current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated, and anyone willing to serve the country should be able to do so.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