A press briefing today at the White House has confirmed that President Obama believes that transgender soldiers should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Secretary Carter said at an event in Kandahar: “And I’m very open-minded about…what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members? And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”
See a transcription of today’s press briefing in which a reporter asks about Carter’s comments.
Q Thanks, Josh. During a military town hall event yesterday in Kandahar, Secretary Carter expressed an openness to the idea of openly transgender service, saying only suitability for service should bar an American from enlistment. Does the President share Secretary Carter’s views on this?
MR. EARNEST: Chris, I’ve seen the reports of Secretary Carter’s comments. I can tell you that the President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve. And for that reason we here at the White House welcome the comments from the Secretary of Defense.
But in terms of additional steps the Department of Defense will take to address this matter, I’d refer you to the Secretary’s office.
Q Is there any coordination going on between the White House and the Pentagon right now to coordinate those steps?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, to talk about what those next steps might be, I’d refer you to the Department of Defense.