February 22, 2015 at 7:13 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Ash Carter discusses out trans servicemembers

Ashton Carter, gay news, Washington Blade

Defense Secretary Ash Carter during an appearance in Afghanistan on Feb. 22, 2015, discussed the idea of allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Sunday discussed the possibility of transgender people serving openly in the military.

“I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them,” he said in response to a question that Jesse Ehrenfeld, a lieutenant commander with U.S. Navy Medical Care who is a member of the American Military Partner Association, asked during a town hall meeting in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Carter prefaced his response by saying that he approaches the issue of openly trans servicemembers from “a fundamental starting point.”

“It’s not something I’ve studied a lot since I became secretary of defense,” he said. “But I come at this kind of question from a fundamental starting point, which is that we want to make our conditions and experience of service as attractive as possible to our best people in our country.”

“And I’m very open-minded about — otherwise about what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us,” added Carter. “That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members?”

Carter’s comments come less than a week after Vice President Biden swore him in to succeed Chuck Hagel.

Carter has tapped Eric Fanning, the gay former under secretary of the Air Force, as the Pentagon’s new chief of staff.

Fanning told the Washington Blade in a May 2013 interview that he supports allowing trans servicemembers to serve openly.

“I think that the military is stronger, institutions are stronger, and society is stronger the more inclusive that we are,” he said. “So, wherever we can root out discrimination, I think it’s a positive thing.”

Ehrenfeld told the Blade in a follow-up e-mail that he asked Carter the question because he has “personally taken care” of a trans servicemember and “interacted with several others” over the last six months he has been in Afghanistan.

“I am continually struck by how these individuals, who risk their lives every day to support our mission, live not in fear of the enemy, but rather in fear of being discovered for who they are,” Ehrenfeld told the Blade.

“I am hopeful that someday the outdated policy excluding transgender individuals from serving will be lifted. In my experience, transgender servicemembers are some of the bravest soldiers we’ve got.

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, welcomed Carter’s comments.

“Thousands of transgender service members are currently doing the job, and doing it well, but are forced to do so in silence — forced to lie about something as fundamental as who they are in order to continue to serve,” she said in a statement. “While we applaud Secretary Carter for being ‘open-minded’ on this issue, we urge him to take action that will lead to ending this ban that continues to harm our transgender service members and their families.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Thank you LCDR Ehrenfeld for asking the question of Dr. Carter…and Dr. Carter is perfectly on point when he said “That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members?” – See more at: https://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/02/22/ash-carter-discusses-trans-servicemembers/#sthash.WrNNIkgM.dpuf

  • How to Get your lover back after a Divorce or Breakup without any delay..

    An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my husband back to me.. My name is Natasha Johnson,i live in Florida,USA,and I'm happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with two kids.A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn't call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website { http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to the Dr Brave for bringing back my husband ,and brought great joy to my family once again. {bravespellcaster@gmail.com }, Thanks..

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.