The United States military will allow transgender troops to serve openly in the military, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the announcement, saying that the mission of the military is “to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.”
It was the latest ban Carter has lifted during his time as the head of the Defense Department. He also recently opened all combat positions to women in the military, and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary, according to The New York Times. A study commissioned by Carter found that there were already more than 2,000 trans individuals in the military. Those troops will be able to live openly beginning Thursday and to receive medical care and change their gender identity formally by October 1. The military will begin enlisting openly trans soldiers by next year, he said.