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Transgender servicemembers: What lifting the ban means for the military, vets




Soldiers participate in close arm combative training during the Ranger Course at Ft. Benning.
Soldiers participate in close arm combative training during the Ranger Course at Ft. Benning.
Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/U.S. Army

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The Pentagon announced Monday it will take steps to end the ban on transgender people from serving in the military.

"We have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines — real, patriotic Americans — who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit,” said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in a statement.

Carter ordered a six-month study aimed at ending the ban.

Making a smooth transition, however, may mean rethinking more than active duty fighting. What does it mean for barrack assignments, medical care, service records and more?

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center at San Francisco State University, explains some of the logistical and cultural challenges. The Center specializes in research about gender, sexuality and the military.

Meanwhile, there are more than 134,000 transgender veterans in America, too. Navy vet Fallon Stone, a transgender man, shares some of the progress and pitfalls the military has made in providing benefits.