Palm Center Releases Memo on Transgender Military Ban
The Palm Center recently released the below short memo describing the impact and status of the Trump administration's ban on transgender service members. "Breaking Down the March 23, 2018, Transgender Military Ban" outlines what the Pentagon and White House released recently, explains the impact of these documents given the status of current litigation blocking any form of a transgender ban, and reports for the first time that the most precise estimate to date of the number of transgender individuals currently serving, based on official Department of Defense (DOD) data, is 14,700.
On the heels of a joint statement by 26 retired General and Flag Officers opposing the ban, the Palm Center memo also describes DOD's rationale for its ban—that transgender people are less fit for service than their peers—and explains why it's unfounded.
BREAKING DOWN THE MARCH 23, 2018, TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN
• a 44-page "Department of Defense Report and Recommendations on Military Service by Transgender Persons" (the report);
• a 3-page memorandum from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, "Military Service by Transgender Individuals," adopting the recommendations of the report; and
• a 2-page memorandum from President Trump, "Military Service by Transgender Individuals," revoking his prior memorandum of August 25, 2017, on the subject and passing authority to the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security (Coast Guard) to implement policy according to the report and the Secretary of Defense memo.
Number of Transgender Service Members
The Implementation Plan
• Must serve in birth gender for the duration of their service.
• Prior gender transition is disqualifying.
• Eligible to remain in service: transgender service members who agree to serve in birth gender indefinitely and who are able to maintain fitness under general standards without medical support for gender dysphoria.
Limited Exception for Currently Serving Personnel
• May continue to receive all medically necessary care, change gender marker, and serve in gender consistent with gender identity.
• This means there will be personnel who have transitioned gender serving side-by-side with personnel who are prohibited from transitioning gender.
• DOD recognizes this inconsistency and issued a threat against serving transgender personnel if courts rely on the inconsistency as a basis for invalidating the ban:
• an assertion that transgender persons are less mentally fit (report at 19-22);
• a disagreement with medical and psychological consensus that treatment for gender dysphoria is reliable, safe, and effective (report at 24-27);
• an assertion that treatment for gender dysphoria renders transgender service members physically unfit (report at 27-28); and
• an assertion, based on an archaic understanding of gender roles, that accommodating gender transition could undermine the military's preservation of differences between the sexes (report at 28).
Reactions to the Ban
"The American Psychiatric Association … reiterated its strong opposition to a ban of transgender Americans from the U.S. military."
Twenty-six retired officers wrote, "There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve."
Source: The Palm Center