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Chuck Hagel the U.S. Secretary of Defense said on Sunday that the prohibition in the U.S. military for transgender individuals should be reviewed continually.

No indication was given by Hagel to whether he believed the military’s policy should be changed. However, Hagel did say that every American who is qualified and wants to serve the country should have the opportunity if they meet the qualifications and can do so.

Transgender individuals are those whom have acquired the characteristics physically of the opposite sex or they present themselves in such a way that does not equal their sex when they were born.

A panel from a think tank in San Francisco estimated recently that approximately 15,450 personnel serving in the military as well as the National Guard are transgender.

In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed a measure allowing lesbians and gays to serve in the military openly. The defense secretary said the issue over transgender serving for the U.S. military is a more complicated issue. Hagel said these types of issues require medical attention that at certain times are impossible to provide in certain austere locations.

A transgender association said it welcome the comments made by Hagel, which he made on a Sunday talk show.

The association said the military regulations that disqualify service members and recruits who are transgender are based upon stereotypes and outdated prejudices.

The association said the secretary of defense would be amazed if he were to meet with the members of the military who are transgender since they can serve the country while hiding the basic part of who they really are.

An advocacy group that consists of members who are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual, now serving or at one time served in the U.S. military said it was long overdue for a review.

The group said many allies of the U.S. including Australia, Israel and the UK allow people that are transgender to serve their country in the armed forces. It is time, said the group’s director of policy that the U.S. joins its allies.

A review by the military of issues with transgender could occur while it is also dealing with questions about treating prisoners who are transgender. Chelsea Manning a former private in the army who provided classified documents to the WikiLeaks website wants to be treated as a woman while in prison.