U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is "open" to reviewing the military's policy on transgender individuals. (Via U.S. Department of Defense)
HAGEL: "It continually should be reviewed. I'm open to that, by the way. ... 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." (Via ABC)
Right now, the Department of Defense says individuals with "current or history of psychosexual conditions (302), including but not limited to transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias," are not up to military standards for enlistment. (Via U.S. Department of Defense)
This comes more than three years after "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed in December 2010, but Hagel contests this decision would be more difficult because transgender individuals require different medical attention. (Via U.S. Department of Defense)
The Palm Center, a research institute focused on sexual minorities in the military, released a report in March that refutes that claim, saying, "We find that there is no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service, and that eliminating the ban would advance a number of military interests, including enabling commanders to better care for their service members."
The Palm Center also adds researchers estimate there are more than 15,000 transgender service members currently serving.
According to OutServe, an association for LGBT active and veteran military personnel, the U.S. would join at least 10 other countries including Australia, Canada, Spain, Thailand and the U.K. if it allowed transgender individuals to serve in some way.