By Amanda Hayes, Managing Editor
As the nation has started to come together as one supporting the LGBTQ community, specifically, in the aftermath of the recent Orlando shooting, other strides have been taken within the Pentagon. On June 30, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military. This removes one of the last barriers to military service by any individual and has been in the works for around a year.
With this ban lifted, transgender services members are no longer allowed to be discharged on the basis of their identity. In addition to that, this lifted ban will provide equal medical coverage as any member. This also includes coverage for hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, if deemed necessary during service. For incoming service members to the military, they must be “stable” in their gender identity for 18 months. With this information arises many follow-up questions. Senior military leaders have 90 days to draw an implemented plan addressing the issues such as housing, transitioning healthcare and many other factors. According to the Military Times, “defense officials estimate there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender troops in today’s active-duty force of 1.3 million people.” With this lifted ban, it allows for more incoming service members who truly want to fight for this country.
In addition to this big news, the Marine Corps is also in the works to rename 19 of its military occupational specialties to gender neutral titles. This has been mandated by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and has been reviewed for several months. Some terms including “Rifleman” and “Mortarman” will be untouched since they are considered to be rooted in Marine history. The terms that will change in most cases will be changed by replacing the term “man” with “Marine.” For example, some new terms include “Basic Infantry Marine,” “Armor Marine,” and “Fire Support Marine.”
With all of these changes being made in such a rigid and structured part of American history, it just goes to show how far this nation is coming in supporting all people. This shows that everyone truly is equal and can fight for this country with respect. These acts are monumental for the LGBTQ community. The fight for freedom has no boundaries.