WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ash Carter has gotten pushback from senior military leaders on whether the Pentagon should lift its ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, according to U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.
Carter initially told troops in Afghanistan that he was open-minded when asked if the Defense Department was planning to remove one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. But defense officials said members of his top brass told Carter that they had serious reservations.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Military officials are reluctant to publicly discuss their opposition, but much of it centers on questions about where transgender troops would be housed, what berthing they would have on ships, which bathrooms they would use, and whether their presence would affect the ability of small units to work well together.
There also are questions about whether the military would conduct or pay for the medical treatment and costs associated with any gender transition, as well as which physical training standards they would be required to meet.
I got news for you, guys – there are something like 8,800 soldiers on active duty and 6,700 in the guard or reserves:
The Williams Institute: Transgender Military Service in the United States
By Gary J. Gates, Jody L. Herman May 2014
An estimated 150,000 transgender individuals have served in the U.S. armed forces, or are currently on active duty. In addition, an estimated 134,000 transgender individuals are veterans or are retired from Guard or Reserve service, 8,800 transgender adults are currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, and an estimated 6,700 transgender individuals are serving in the Guard or Reserve forces. Transgender individuals assigned female at birth are nearly three times more likely than all adult women, and those assigned male at birth are 1.6 times more likely than all adult men, to serve.