World

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon will lift its ban on openly transgender service personnel next month after Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the regulation outdated and harmful to the military.

The disclosure, which has been welcomed by campaigners for transgender rights, comes after the US Army Secretary, Eric Fanning, formally took office.

Related: US Senate confirms first openly gay Army secretary

He is the first openly gay person to take the top civilian official seat in any branch of the American military.

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The US military ended its ban on openly gay and lesbian service personnel in 2011.

According to the BBC, the latest repeal would require each branch of the US military to implement new policies covering recruitment, housing and uniforms for transgender personnel.

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“Our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief,” said Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association.

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But Republican lawmaker Mac Thornberry, who chairs the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said Ash Carter had still not answered some of its questions about the move.

“If reports are correct, I believe Secretary Carter has put the political agenda of a departing administration ahead of the military’s readiness crisis,” he said in a statement.

Estimates by the National Center for Transgender Equality say up to 15,000 transgender people serve in the US military.