U.S. 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Ash Carter says the Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated, and anyone willing to serve the U.S. should be able to do so.
"We must ensure that everyone who's able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so. And we must treat all of our people with the dignity and respect they deserve.
"Going forward the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said.
The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates there are over 134,000 transgender veterans and over 15,000 transgender persons currently on active duty in the U.S. military.
"Support for transgender veterans has improved, but they still face barriers from obtaining updated service records that do not out them as transgender, and from receiving VA coverage of necessary medical procedures,
"Furthermore, restrictions on open service continue to bring an early end to the careers of qualified service members, even though those rules lack any basis in medicine or military need," the NCTE said.
The American Medical Association stated in a June report that there are no medical reasons transgender people can not serve in the U.S. armed forces.