The U.S. military plans to end its ban on transgender troops openly serving as soon as next month, a defense official told The Daily Beast.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is expected to announce the end of the policy then, the official said, and he alone will determine when to formally make the change. Under the current policy, the secretary must approve the removal of any transgender service member; so far he has chosen not to do so.
Within the military, there has been some resistance to the lift of the ban, especially within the Marine Corps leadership. It is unclear whether service members will be required to go through any training in the run-up to or after the lifting of the ban.
Carter first proposed ending the ban on transgender service members in July. But since then, there were personnel changes and internal strife that slowed down the announcement, even as an independent study found no major problems to the force by lifting the ban.
The Washington Post first reported on the impending policy change Friday.
According to one Defense Department statistic, there currently are 77 openly transgender service members. The total number in the force is estimated as high as in the thousands.
— Nancy A. Youssef