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U.S. Defense Secretary encourages review of military ban on transexuals

"Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity," Hagel told ABC News.
By Matt Bradwell   |   May 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM  |  Updated May 11, 2014 at 4:08 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- Although the Pentagon explicitly bans transgendered Americans from fighting for their country, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ready to consider changing the rules.

"I go back to the bottom line: Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity, if they fit the qualifications and can do it," Hagel told ABC News.

If reviewed and negated, Hagel acknowledged that more nuanced policies would have to be incorporated into combat procedures.

"The issue of transgender is bit more complicated because it has a medical component to it," he continued. "These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases don't always provide that kind of opportunity."

Earlier this year Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said there is "no compelling medical rationale" to ban transgendered soldiers from serving in the military.

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Topics: Chuck Hagel
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