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The Pentagon will make big announcement about future of transgender Americans in military service

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Pentagon officials expect the ban on transgender service members to be repealed by the Defense Department within weeks.

The ban has been the subject of debate that has gone on for a year and officials working on the repeal issue expect an announcement by the end of next month, possibly sooner, The Washington Post reported.

“Nothing has been set in stone on this,” said an official who wished to remain anonymous. Another official said it could occur as soon as next week.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter established a group to research transgender military service last year, expecting a report in six months.

Current Pentagon policy allows the military to discharge transgender people, who are considered sexual deviants, according to the Post. The authority to discharge was moved to higher levels in the military last year to make it more difficult to force out transgender troops. But difficulties arose for the commanders and service members as the lack of a clear policy created confusion with issues such as  gender-specific uniforms and bathroom usage.

Peter Levine, the Pentagon’s new acting Pentagon personnel chief, said in May that it would take “months, but not large numbers of months” more to get details ironed out as officials had differing views, the Post reported.

“We’re going to work through that,” Levine said, “and we’re going to do it expeditiously so that we can do it in this administration. But it’s important that we not only do it, but do it right.”

Transgender service members and others praised the decision to repeal the ban on Friday.

“We don’t want any gray areas,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, a transgender airman who did not want special exceptions to be granted to transgender service people. “Just afford us the same opportunities as the genders as which we wish to be seen.”

Transgender service members and their families are now “breathing a huge sigh of relief,” said Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families.

“We are eagerly anticipating the details of this historic announcement, and we are incredibly grateful for the leadership Secretary Carter has shown in getting us to this critically important point for our military families,” she said, according to the Post.

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Frieda Powers


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