WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the military should continually review its policy barring transgender individuals from serving in the military.
Hagel did not indicate whether he believes the policy should be overturned. However, Hagel says every qualified American who wants to serve the country should have that opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do the job.
Transgender individuals have a sexual identity that is not clearly male or female. A panel convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University recently estimated that about 15,450 transgender personnel serve in the military and in the National Guard and Reserves.
In 2010, Congress passed legislation allowing gays to serve openly. Hagel said the issue of transgender serving in the military is more complicated.
Hagel spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”