The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement on ABC’s This Morning that the Department of Defense should review the military’s policies that prohibits open transgender military service. “We look forward to working with the Pentagon to end these outdated rules that harm our military,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC News that he believes the ban should be reviewed. “I do think it continually should be reviewed,” he said. “I’m open to that. I’m open to those assessments, because — again, I go back to the bottom line — every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it,” he said.
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This willingness to evaluating changes to the medical regulations is overdue but very welcome. 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.
Our National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted by NCTE and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, showed that about one-fifth of all transgender adults are veterans, making transgender people approximately twice as likely as others to serve in the military.
Read our full statement here.