Pentagon ends ban on transgender troops in military

FILE - In this July 7, 2015 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The expected launch of new rules allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the U.S. military is drawing concerns from senior military leaders who believe the Pentagon is moving too fast and has yet to resolve many details and questions. The Pentagon plans to unveil the new regulations in the next day or two. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will let transgender individuals serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the change Thursday. Carter says it’s the right thing to do. He says only a person’s qualifications should matter, and that there should be no other unrelated barriers to service.

Carter’s announcement comes despite concerns from senior military leaders that the department is moving too fast and that more time is needed to work through the changes.

The changes will be phased in over a year. But by October 1, transgender troops should be able to receive medical care and begin formally changing their gender identification in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

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