January 14, 2016 at 5:20 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Pentagon expects decision on trans military ban in spring
national news, Ashton Carter, Department of Defense, gay news, Washington Blade

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Pentagon would begin a six-month review of the trans ban in July. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Pentagon has affirmed it intends to make a determination on the transgender military ban this spring after the conclusion this month of an internal six-month review.

Matthew Allen, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will make a decision at that time in response to a Washington Blade inquiry this week for an update on the review.

“The transgender working group appointed by the secretary of defense will conclude its deliberations by the end of January and present its findings and recommendations directly to the secretary soon thereafter,” Allen said. “The secretary will take whatever time he needs to analyze, evaluate, and discuss the Working Group’s findings with his immediate staff and the senior leadership of the department. We do, however, anticipate a final decision from the secretary sometime in the spring.”

In July, Carter announced the Pentagon would undertake a review of transgender military service, which is currently banned as a result of medical regulation. At the time, Carter said the review would be conducted under the presumption the policy would be changed. In an attempt to limit transgender discharges, the secretary also directed that all separations of troops for gender identity would be handled by a senior civilian official.

According to the Pentagon, the working group’s recommendations will address accessions, retention, transition and medical care for transgender service members and potential applicants to the armed forces.

Although the Pentagon is set to complete its report by the end of the January, Allen indicated no part of the report will be officially made public until the final policy determination is made.

“Materials from the working group will be released only after the secretary makes a final decision and has determined what is appropriate for public release,” Allen said.

Media reports last year indicated the Pentagon was set to lift the trans ban on May 27, but Allen disavowed that was the target date, even with the expectation of a spring decision.

“Any end to the current prohibition on accessing transgender persons, or their open service in the military services, will be informed by the working group’s recommendations and final decisions made by the secretary of defense,” Allen said.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, said the only determination Carter could make based on available data is lifting the ban on transgender service.

“If the new DOD policy is based on the successful experiences of our allies who allow transgender personnel to serve, and on the scientific consensus of the the American Medical Association and retired Surgeons General that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service, then I believe that full repeal will take place and implementation will be successful,” he said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • well a lot of progress re trans, while the anti made a non discrimiation bill in houston into a lie about men in womens bathrooms, the dallas city council voted recently to protect trans people from discrimination, 11 to 1

    If our soldiers cant deal with being witth or working with a trans person, how can we count on them when the other side is attacking?

    • It is estimated that 15,000 trans people serve in the services. Our soldiers work with trans people now. They just do not know it.

      • True. And the fact that it was not allowed up until this year tells you all you need to know about the trustworthiness of those troops.

    • Wow, people who want co-ed bathrooms, I guess they don’t have kids? Can you imagine the issues? I guess not. I guess you want to put our children and women at risk for about 10% of the 1/30,000 who want to force the issue. Sad

      • Yeah, because if I had kids, I would totally want them to serve in the military as soon as they were old enough to pick up a gun and use it (I think the age of 6 is about right, don’t you?) and I would be so afraid of them being molested in the “wrong” bathroom by their fellow soldiers.

  • 50% suicide rate and defined as “unstable” by Psychologist. Sure, Obama. Give them guns and stress. What could go wrong? There are already 4 VA clinics for transexuals while troops wait 5 years for disability reviews. Sad, sad failure.

    • Correction. That’s 41%, and it includes suicide attempts. But the real conversation here is that the rate is so high because of people like YOU constantly attacking transgender people. And then the stress of those never-ending attacks causes mental problems.


      • what? So you think society is to blame that Bruce thinks he’s Caitlin. Living with the Kardashians had nothing to do with that? Look, people with gender identity issues have serious mental problems. Those who have surgery to mangle themselves are even further gone. Psychologist agree. Sad that Obama is trolling for votes by forcing the military to give these folks guns and life/death responsibility. FAIL

          • so before he got married and had kids and slept with lots of women? He is in his 60s. You’d think he’d have figured this out before now. Also, shocker, like most transgenders, he is second guessing his decision not. wow

          • and you think the answer, the way to address that incredibly high suicide rate (less than 1% is the norm) is to give them a gun and lots of responsibility. Wow.

          • I’m curious if you know the current suicide rate for veterans, as they commit suicide at an astounding rate – much, much more than any other group of people. In fact, 22 veterans commit suicide every single day. Trans people commit suicide because they are oppressed, misunderstood, labelled as freaks, and ostracized for simply wanting to be comfortable in their own skin. Perhaps if we started changing that, the suicide rate among them would begin to decline. Veterans, however, still need a ton of help – and not just in the form of dozens of pills.

          • And right on cue, Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide today. I agree with you by the way on veterans. We need to do more as a country to help them. It is disgusting how the VA turns their back on us when we take off the uniform.

        • How drunk are you? Trolling for Votes? For what, a 3rd term? I also love that you put “Psychologist Agree.” As in 1 Psychologist. Only 1 is on your side. The rest is on the side of the American Psychology Association and the World Health Organization.

          15,000 people already have the responsibility. They have to remain silent about it for fear of preoccupations. However the Army and Air Force have already relaxed their positions to allow service member’s to transition based on Unit Commander approval.

        • No, living with the Kardashians had NOTHING to do with it! Caitlyn Jenner has said that she felt that way from at least the age of 8 years old! She had started transition and taking female hormones in the 1980’s before she met and married Kris Kardashian, but stopped once they got married.

          Transgender people are NOT mentally ill, and the majority of psychiatrists and psychologists agree on that fact!

          • WOW. Christine, I am a psychologist. You? Cartoonist? HS student? Let me assure you, gender identity confusion = broken. We love those people because they are to us like a Chrysler PT Cruiser is to a mechanic, job security.

          • No Straight, gender dysphoria (I’d think you’d know that word as a psychologist) != broken, it means trapped. If you’d bother to read the ongoing literature on the subject (like my therapist does) you’d know that the symptoms associated with dysphoria (depression, suicide, isolation) are generally eased, if not outright erased, with transition.

          • Right, trapped. Feeling like you are born in the wrong gender. I get it. I’ve done papers on it. Like most psychologist, I don’t think the answer is body mutilation or issuing a gun and giving life/death responsibilities … along with hormone shots and pills for depression

          • Since I’ve already done over 14 years in the service, yeah.
            “Like most psychologists”? I suppose it’s just a radical few heading the APA and making decisions for the DSM then, that agree with what I and others have been saying?

            I don’t get “hormone shots”, nor do I take “pills for depression”. Even if I did, neither of those are absolute exclusions to being in the service for NON trans people. If you knew as much on the subject as you claim you wouldn’t be speaking in such base, mundane, ignorant terms; and you’d also speak differently about the specifics.

            Also, having served through TWO full presidencies, as well as being very well versed in politics and political science, I can tell you that of the last two presidents, it was not president Obama who “played with the military.” It was Mr. Bush who treated us like his bucket of toy soldiers and capriciously sent my friends an me off to war.

            I feel sad though, sad that none of this will likely matter to you. You’ve decided trans people are “icky” and “wrong”, and you’ll continue to grab and use anything that confirms that bias. C’est la vie.

          • Michelle, being a retired Lt Col with 25 years in, I am familiar with the politics of the service. The fact that you think Bush did more damage to our brothers and sisters than Obama kindof defines the elementary view you have of the service. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t voting based on race who voted for Obama. I know when I retired, the 14 that left with me all received letters of congrats from Bush and Obama. Bush’s letter went on the wall and the Sequestration president’s went in a drawer with the wife’s certificate. It’s always interesting when an admin troop tells me what psychologist think, even though I have the degrees and they don’t have a clue. Here’s a link for you to read. Read it slowly. I don’t think you are “icky”. Just think you are broken and need help, not a gun.

          • A short colonel knows less about the troops, and the ‘politics’ at the PLT level than many privates AZ. Btw, i was an MP for ten years, though being an admin (which i did four years) is nothing to be ashamed of.

            you do think I’m “icky” and you are trying to rationalize it. I handled a weapon just fine, including in OIF 1. Suddenly i come out and NOW i shouldnt serve? Its bs bbased on 50 year old thinking and NOT based on any modern scientific understanding.

            btw, the fact that you and your buddies dont like the president doesnt prove a damn thing about each president’s effects on the military. The military is vastly bloated anyway, and neeeded a cut, even if it was only a small one.

          • Michelle, while I appreciate your service, surely you recognize that the facts about transsexuals are disturbing. The fact that over 40% COMMIT suicide, most who have surgery regret it, and most have serious mental disorders like bi-polar or depression. These don’t bode well for military service where life and death are in your hands. You were an MP, you were responsible for security of people — people who depended on you for their lives. Wouldn’t you rather have someone not on lithium doing that? And I’m not even talking about substance abuse and disease levels.

          • I never said you were “icky”. Transexuals have much higher rates of substace abuse and mental illness than the other 99.97% of society.

          • Heterosexual males have a much higher rate of violent acts, child molestation, rape and abuse of women. What was your point again?

          • NO … you see … “rate” goes to %. If you said “number of” then maybe. Maybe.

          • So again, speaking as someone who has gone to therapy, do you think your psychologist would prescribe for you a gun and lots of stress to cope with your broken, trapped feelings? Maybe responsibility for billions of dollars worth of equipment and hundreds of people’s lives? Nope.

          • I don’t have “broken, trapped feelings.” I never did, but thank you for putting that stereotype on me. It really gave me the warm and fuzzies. And yes, my therapist thinks my returning to the service is a great idea, thank you for asking.

            Being a short colonel means you have experience and tenacity, not intelligence and wisdom. Since I’m going to go with the understanding that you weren’t a therapist in the service, you are, quintessentially, talking out of your oakleaf. When were you a joe? How much time did you spend on the roads and in the towns of Iraq? How deep did you patrol in Afghanistan? Yeah, bush did way more damage than Obama could have if he were trying (which he’s not). You and your buddies hating on him and retiring the moment he got into office is more an indictment on you all than on him. The majority of the force being brainwashed poor white rural conservative men, and thus hating him from the start and voting against him, also proves nothing. The common masses, of which you are sadly a part of given your education level, have been convinced by republicans that the GOP is actually the party that supports troops. They don’t, they just support defense spending. Not the same.

          • Actually, being a Colonel means you have to have at least a Masters or two and 15-30 years of experience. I’ve been all over SWA … years of experience in the sandbox. And there is a reason less than 25% of the TOTAL military polled by “Military Times” plan on voting for Hilary. It isn’t because we are all old, white guys. The US military is more diverse than the US population. You should know that.

          • Um …. no. They are not. The cure for gender confusion is not body mutilation it is talk therapy.

          • There is no “cure” for gender confusion, because it’s not an illness. You cannot cure something which is not an illness in the first place. Secondly, most people who have gender dysphoria seek mental health help due to the ignorant people they encounter in life. They know they are in the wrong body, but the a-holes in their lives don’t get it. The same is true of gay people. Most gay people seek mental health help due to being rejected in some form or fashion. This is rapidly changing, so much so that gays are now more popular than Evangelical Christians!


          • Sure, not an illness. That’s why they commit suicide at a rate of 42% compared to less than 1% of the rest of the population.

          • Your stats are way off and for one minute did you stop to think that people who are treated badly in society wouldn’t have this tendency? Duh…. There is nothing inherent in the homosexual orientation that would lead one to be suicidal and I’ve already educated you to the fact that gays seek mental health help in order to deal with the prejudice and ignorance we endure. In fact, gay teens are often rejected by their own parents. You heterosexuals have no fricking clue…

          • There are a lot of factors. Sell-loathing is brought on by personal demons and societal influences. The high addiction rates don’t help.

          • Somehow I’d rather be an addict than someone who abuses women or commits a mass shooting (heterosexual men).

          • Says you, but not any major medical or psychological body in the western world. I’ll keep sticking with them, you keep sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting at the rain.

          • I seriously doubt that you’re a psychologist. That requires a caring personality, tact etc. And you behave like a bipolar patient, not a professional. Get a checkup on those meds.

          • Always funny how libertards with no facts attack the person’s avatar or their mom or their name or says something inane line “liar, liar, pants on fire.” I have three degrees on my wall that says you don’t have a clue, JamieSays. No degree, no facts, and no substance. Go away, the adults are talking.

        • wow didn’t you know, transgender people are currently serving in the US military now as I type this… I did 4 years in the air force, I was transgender… you all act like this is some new thing and social experiment. Canada, UK, Australia all allow transgender people to serve openly.. for about 5 years now.

          • oh, they exist. But serving openly, no. There is a reason the moral has gone down 50% since 2009. Obama playing with the military has done that …. and sequestration, which he swore he’d never approve …

          • I serve openly. If you’d like to ask questions or gain a more thorough perspective regarding transgendered service members feel free to contact me.

    • It’s not the transgender people who are out who have guns you need to worry about. It’s the ones who are still too scared to come out as trans who are the most at risk. The further they progress through their transition, and the more peer support they get to be themselves rather than peer pressure to be something else, the healthier and happier they become in every way. Your lack of understanding of the issue and the individuals your words spit upon is abysmal at best. I am transgender, and I’ve owned guns and been around them all my life. I never wanted to join the military because I could easily get an underpaid security job down the street if I wanted one rather than protect Dick Cheney’s oil trucks so people like you can drive to and complain at McDonalds and Wal-Mart.

      • 42% suicide rate. drops mic. walks off stage.

        • You might want to pick that mic up, cause you weren’t done. It’s a 42% suicide attempt or completion rate PRE-transition. Post transition the numbers come down to around the average for the general population.

          • REALLY? So after transition the numbers are less than 1%? Really? You are going to stick to that? Wow. So the hormone injections and social issues and higher drug and alcohol addiction rates and physical issues, no impact? Hummmmm. I think you are mistaken, Michelle.

          • So once transsexuals have surgery their life is great and they are miraculously healed from their abuse addictions and gender identity issues and depression and …………..

          • The depression and identity issues often come from the way they’re treated, and have nothing to do with the internal battle you seem to imply.

          • Hahaha – read a book. You are clueless. Studies show that the MAJORITY of transsexuals that have the surgery regret it. That is why many doctors refuse to do it anymore.

          • This is false. The majority of trans people who have the operation are happy. I know many personally.

          • NOPE. Studies show ……. Now maybe your friends are a unique, well educated, wealthy group. IN general, no.

          • Well, since the treatment for “gender identity issues” ( the word you’re looking for is dysphoria) IS social and physical transition, yes, they tend to go away. The depression common amongst trans people is a secondary condition of their dysphoria, along with low self esteem and confidence from living in a world that hates us. The addiction issues are actually more strongly linked to poverty, which is insanely more likely to happen to a trans person due to so few places protecting us from workplace and residential discrimination. Once the underlying dysphoria is treated recovery rates for addicts tend to match the rest of the population, especially if they make it out of poverty.

            You’ve claimed to have so much professional knowledge, but it’s clear you e never read a synopsis of a modern paper on transgender health, let alone the full paper.

          • I am just amazed this is your position, Michelle. Even GLAAD and other agencies that represent people with gender issues are in hard disagreement with you here.

  • Lift the ban! Stop the discrimination! End the forced suffering! We can do the job! And do it well!

  • im transgender and want to join the military to serve my country. i don’t see the difference from anyone else joining.

    • I’m transgender and I served. I was separated in ’05 under DADT because my chain of command didn’t know the difference between transgender and gay so they prosecuted me under “homosexual conduct” and held a separation board.

  • The most accurate estimate of the LGBT population in the U.S. is between 3.5-3.8 percent, with 0.3 percent being transgender(TG). There are no accurate estimates for the percentage of TG in the military for numerous reasons. One of which include the fact that the military never tracked TG and consequently were included in the gay/lesbian percentage. Another being the fluidity of TG. TG in the military is a relatively new issue. In addition, I’ve noticed that the studies being cited are primarily unqualified sources (pro/against). By the American Psychiatric Association’s own admission there have not been enough qualified studies in regards to TG (either outdated or biased). Until that time the consensus among the medical community is to treat TG with psychotherapy, hormone therapy, and or SRS to alleviate distress. Until that time we can all argue for or against to no avail. There are continuing studies to determine the best course of action. By virtue of gender dysphoria being listed in the DSM-V(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), NOTE the name, TG is a mental disorder if diagnosed. It was changed from Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria to avoid stigma. The actual definitions of both dysphoria and disorder are interchangeable. In my opinion the term was changed to appease the TG community. Therefore in my opinion until further studies are done and science advances we should not allow TG into the military. Because of the fluidity and the various forms of TG it would be impossible to manage. I served 10 years in the Army and got out as a Major. In one of those assignments for a Major Command I managed the enlisted strength/issues for the command. I wrote numerous briefs to the CG concerning assaults by service members on TG due to the TG portraying themselves as a biological female for illegal sexual activities. When the true identity came out it often resulted in harm to the TG. I truly think this would create not only a morale issue but undue harm to individuals. It seems anytime someone disagrees with a TG they are automatically labeled a bigot or uneducated. We all are entitled to our opinions and by attacking someone because of a difference only shows your ignorance and does your cause no good. No disrespect but i liken TG to someone diagnosed with anorexia or borderline personality disorder. They look at themselves completely different than what they actually are. And by the way my girlfriends son identifies as a girl. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s which is now autism spectrum. He is 24 and this just became an issue 8 months ago. He hasn’t ever held a job, flunked out of college and vo-tech and sits at home on the internet. However his new LPC is ready to write a letter for hormone therapy without taking into account his inability to function as a member of society. She doesn’t want him to obtain a job making over $1104/month because he would lose his SSI disability income. In other words don’t have him work to his potential and let him remain a leach on society in order for her to get paid. I’ve found that in the TG community it is often all to easy to find a counselor that will do whatever you ask with the least concern for your well being. We have become an entitled, spoiled, self serving, and politically correct society. History tells us there WILL be major consequences.

  • hahahaha – WRONG, music man. We help people work through their demons. Gender identity confusion is treated through therapy.

    • I have no demons. You apparently do, since you have issues with homosexuality. I don’t share your issues. I’m perfectly adjusted and very happy I was born gay. I celebrate it, in fact.

      • GLAAD to psychologists is like Chrysler to car mechanics, keep us busy

        • Dumbo, rape has nothing to do with sexual attractions. Why would a straight man rape a man? For the same reasons he would rape a woman- to inflict pain and humiliate a victim. It’s not an act of love making. God you’re retarded.

          • OK … your desperation is showing. Instead of discussing this logically you are shouting names at me and saying ridiculous things. “Men rape men because they want to humiliate them.” In all my years of military service and psychology I have seen this happen NEVER. Bye-bye, crazy man. Good luck with the lifestyle choice.

        • Homosexuals can donate blood, dumbo. That restriction was lifted a year ago. And if you are so desperate for money that donating blood is your only source of income, you’re pretty pathetic. I don’t know anyone who donated blood. Why bother?

    • I can’t imagine you helping anyone. You have no business working with any patient. You are more likely to make them commit suicide. Your ignorance is embarrassing frankly, which leads me to think you’re nothing but a troll. I only respond to you in the case that someone else reads this and learns something. I’m using you.

  • 13,000 a year in the USA, so …again … you are WRONG

  • So your argument is that (despite every study ever done) trangender people have the same or lower rates of depression and suicide as the rest of society. Is that seriously your contention? Watch the Caitlin Jenner speech where “she” accepts the WOMAN OF THE YEAR award. In her introduction, the GLAAD rep goes through a list of issues with transgender people. I am amazed they have supported Jenner because he is a man with boobs right now, still hasn’t undergone the surgery. In fact, in recent conversations he has talked about what a mistake he has made and wanting to reverse things and go back to his wife.

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