The ban on transgender people serving openly in the military could be about to end. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Monday a working group would study the implications of allowing transgender service members.
In a press release, Carter called the current regulations "outdated," "confusing" and "inconsistent" with the military's values.
In an interview with USA Today last year, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James called for the ban to be lifted.
"From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve," James said.
Advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign applauded the announcement, saying, "Our military and our country will be stronger when this archaic policy is finally discarded and we look forward to that day." (Video via Human Rights Campaign)
Despite the current ban, The Williams Institute estimates nearly 150,000 currently living transgender people have either served or are now serving in the military.
Since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010, the military has made strides in becoming more LGBT-friendly.
This year, both the Army and Air Force made it more difficult to discharge transgender troops, and the Army made headlines when it announced WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning would be able to undergo hormone therapy while behind bars. (Video via NBC)
Attitudes toward transgender people have been changing for years and in 2011, a Public Religion Research Institute poll found 89% of Americans believed transgender people should have equal rights. However the ACLU says only 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting transgender people.
The Department of Defense says the working group is expected to finish its work within sixth months.
This video includes images from Getty Images.