New Defense Secretary: ‘I’m very open-minded’ about transgender people serving


Less than a week into his new job, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Sunday suggested he is “open-minded” about transgender people serving in the U.S. military during remarks to servicemembers in Afghanistan.

Carter was asked at a troop event in Kandahar, Afghanistan, what his “thoughts” were on transgender members serving in an “austere” environment like Kandahar.

Though he admitted he hadn’t looked at the issue extensively, Carter said he was “very open-minded” about the possibility. He suggested the issue shouldn’t be factored into whether prospective troops are fit for service.

“I come at this kind of question from a fundamental starting point, which is that we want to make our conditions and experience of service as attractive as possible to our best people in our country,” Carter said.

“And I’m very open-minded about — otherwise about what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what…

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