A senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Blade late Friday the Defense Department is planning to update the Military Equal Opportunity Policy to add the words “sexual orientation” as part of the non-discrimination policy.
The proposed change is set to be delivered as early as the middle of next week to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for his review and final approval, the official said. Each of the military services has already agreed to the change, the official said.
The roughly 15,000 active duty and reserve transgender service members will have to continue serving in stealth or face being discharged. No changes to those regulations are being planned according to the Washington Blade.
“Although the Military Equal Opportunity Policy will be updated to include sexual orientation, the official said the Pentagon didn’t evaluate gender identity as part of the update, but is “looking at what further updates may be appropriate as it continues to consider transgender policy writ large.” Transgender people are prohibited from serving openly in the military under DOD Instruction 6130.03, which calls for separation of service members who undergo gender reassignment or have “psychosexual conditions” that include transvestitism or transsexualism.”