A report by an independent panel headed by former US surgeon general Joycelyn Elders says there is “no compelling medical reason” to ban transgender people from serving openly in the American military, Air Force Times says.
The commission estimates there are more than 15,000 transgender personnel in the active, Guard and reserve units.
The report adds that President Barack Obama could rescind the longstanding prohibition without seeking congressional approval, with the panel recommending that he issue an executive order calling on the Department of Defense to change its policy and allow transgender people to serve.
About 12 countries permit transgender people to serve in the military, Air Force Times notes.
But a US Department of Defense spokesperson says there are no plans to change existing regulations that the panel says are based on archaic notions.
“I hope their takeaway will be we should evaluate every one of our people on the basis of their ability and what they can do, and if they have a condition we can treat, we would treat it like we would treat anyone else,” The Associated Press quotes Elders as saying.
The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, introduced in the early 1990s by the Clinton administration, which banned gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the US military, was repealed in September 2011.
Since the lifting of that ban, activists have been calling on the Pentagon to review its ban on transgender soldiers.