In an interview with Capitol Download’s Susan Page on Wednesday Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that the ban on transgender troops is likely to be reassessed in the near future and that she believes it should be lifted.
Times Change. [The current policy] is likely to come under review in the next year or so.
From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.
You know, I think that is likely to come under review in the next year or so. So I think we should stand by, and times change, and we’ll just have to see what happens there.
James is the first secretary of a branch of the armed forces to openly support the idea of ending the ban on transgender troops.
The Williams Institute has estimated that there are currently about 15,500 transgender people now serving in the US military.
Conservative forces say allowing transgender troops to serve openly would create complications on issues of housing and health care.
Aaron Belkin of The Palm Center called James’ remarks a positive step.
President Obama is the commander in chief and is ultimately responsible for setting policy, and it is imperative for him to clarify his position as well.
[James’ remarks] provide further proof that it is only a question of when, not if, the outdated, discriminatory ban on transgender troops will be lifted.
–Ian Thompson, ACLU