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GLMA Condemns Defense Department Policy on Transgender Military Service

On March 12, the Department of Defense announced a military service policy that requires transgender people to suppress their gender identity and serve in the sex they were assigned at birth in order to serve or enlist in the military. Any individual not serving in the sex assigned at birth after the policy takes effect on April 12 will be subject to discharge. The policy exempts currently enlisted transgender troops who have already transitioned or have begun to transition prior to the policy effective date.

GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, issued the following statement:

“This policy is the latest insidious attack on transgender people and is similar to other harmful policy we have seen from this Administration, as it continues to disregard medical science and throws the widely accepted standards of care for transgender individuals out the window.

“This policy would require transgender troops to suppress their gender identity and serve in the sex assigned at birth, which despite what the Trump Administration will try to tell you, is a ban on transgender military service.  Medical and healthcare experts, along with their associations, have widely taken the position that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from US military service.

“This policy would also require currently enlisted transgender troops to meet an artificial deadline for transition, forcing them to either transition prior to the policy effective date or to serve in the sex in which they were assigned at birth. As a healthcare provider who has worked with transgender populations, I know that each person’s transition occurs on their personal timeline. Every individual is different, and deserves the right to freely make decisions regarding transition-related care with their provider.

 “Health professionals and their associations are in consensus that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender people from serving openly in the military. Ultimately, this ban is scientifically unsubstantiated and nothing more than thinly-veiled discrimination against transgender individuals who want to serve our country. GLMA will continue to advocate for our transgender troops and work to ensure that the expertise of healthcare providers and health professionals, who are in agreement that gender identity does not disqualify a person from military service, is shared in court cases, policy discussions and public debate.”

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