A study released this week confirmed something we’ve known all along — there is "no compelling medical reason" to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The report came from the Palm Center, a research center for gender, sexuality and military issues at San Francisco State University, and it was funded by trans veteran Jennifer Pritzker. Trans people are still banned from serving, even though the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell made it legal for openly LGBT people to serve.
Some details that I could never summarize accurately:
"Arguments based on mental health are not convincing rationales for prohibiting transgender military service, and [the ban] is not consistent with modern medical understanding," the report argues. "Scientists have abandoned psychopathological understandings of transgender identity, and no longer classify gender non-conformity as a mental illness."
The report goes on to explain that the diagnosis “transsexualism” — which is one of the specific conditions listed in the regulations banning trans service members — was replaced in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual by the term “gender identity disorder” in 1994, and once again changed to the diagnosis gender dysphoria in 2013. “While gender identity disorder was pathologized as an all-encompassing mental illness, gender dysphoria is understood as a condition that is amenable to treatment,” the report adds.
The commission also dispelled arguments that suggest that the military providing hormone replacement therapy treatments and gender-confirming surgeries would disrupt deployment plans, and come at too high a cost to the federal government. Outlined in the report, the commission points to the expensive medical treatment non-military personnel often receive, comparing that to the relatively inexpensive and sparingly used treatment of trans service members.
This is SO important. President Obama could theoretically end this ban without Congressional action; I really hope he’s paying attention to this.