Yup, the times they are (finally) a-changin’.
Between the St. Louis Rams drafting Michael Sam and Conchita Wurst winning that huge Eurovision Song completion, it has been a huge week for the LGBT community. So much so that it almost made Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s comments about reviewing the military’s transgender ban go unnoticed.
While appearing on ABC’s This Week, Hagel said that the prohibition of transgendered individuals in the military “should be reviewed.” He went on by saying, “every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.” While not outright giving his full support on the measure of allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military, many LGBT advocates are agreeing that Hagel’s comments are definitely a step in the right direction.
Hagel went on to say unlike the issue of gays and lesbians serving in the military – which the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” initiative was lifted back in 2010 – the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military is a bit more complicated, adding that the issue requires more medical attention that at times aren’t always available in certain circumstances.
There is hope among the LGBT community that the issue does get raised again when the treatment of Chelsea Manning comes up, a former US private that is currently serving time for providing classified documents to Wikileaks that also happens to be transgendered. Currently Manning is fighting to be treated as a woman while serving a 35-year prison sentence.