The prohibition on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military "continually should be reviewed," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday.
Hagel did not indicate whether he believes the policy should be overturned. However, he said "every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it."
A transgender individual is someone who has acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or presents themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.
A panel convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University recently estimated that about 15,450 transgender personnel serve in the military and in the National Guard and Reserve.
In 2010, Congress passed legislation allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Hagel said the issue of transgender serving in the military is more complicated. He said "these issues require medical attention" that at times cannot be provided in austere locations.
The National Center for Transgender Equality said it welcomed Hagel's comments, which were made on ABC's "This Week." The organization's executive director, Mara Keisling, said the regulations that disqualify transgender recruits and service members are based on outdated prejudices and stereotypes.
"If the secretary were able to meet and talk with the trans service members I've met, he'd understand the answer is self-evident. These are amazing people who serve even though they must hide a basic part of who they are," Keisling said.
SPART(asterisk)A, an advocacy group made up of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people who now serve or once served in the military, said a review was long overdue.
"Many of our allies, including the UK, Australia and Israel, allow transgender people to serve with pride and honor in their armed forces. It's time for the U.S. to join them," said Allyson Robinson, the group's policy director and a former Army captain.
A military review of transgender issues could occur as it also deals with questions about how to treat transgender prisoners. Chelsea Manning, a former Army private serving a 35-year prison sentence for providing classified documents to WikiLeaks, is fighting to be treated as a woman. She is seeking a counselor who specializes in gender issues and also wants to get hormone replacement therapy, which the military has said it does not provide.
Yes Billie I must confess I do drink.Water Grapefruit juice,Milk,Tea,And all types of fruit and veggie juices.but no booze of any type.Now I bet you smoke.
Yes I do like tobacco. Booze I do not and drugs I do not like.
I also love coffee. But my dad drinks and dose drugs. That what had kept me drug free. I also I get sh-t from crack heads where I live. They know I will fight against drugs.
No I am a male. My mom for some odd reason spelled my name like a girl. I love women.
That is my bad I typed it wrong. But I am all male. I have a girlfriend. I am 40 years old. I've like animals I have eight dogs. All rescued dogs. I am also a artist. I volunteer at a Library. I just am my own person. I like Heavy Metal and classic country. I like to help people. I live in a small town. I do not like big cities. I would love to live in the country.
Artist? Really? What kind might that be?
Wow, Charles!!! I would have loved to have said that but was afraid I might not be posted. haha
How do you spell IDIOT-------Chuck Hagel would be correct.
I have read the bible yes. I do have Christian friends. But I am not a Christian. I grew up with my Grandparents. They made me go to church. I am not mad. I just say how I feel. I know some may not agree. I
Dan just do not walk with your God. I walk another path