Commission Report Advises Military To Remove Ban On Transgender Servicemembers
San Francisco State University-based think tank, the Palm Center released a report on Thursday advising the Department of Defense to remove its ban on transgender servicemembers.
An independent commission led by a former U.S. surgeon general has concluded there "is no compelling medical reason" for the U.S. armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving and that President Barack Obama could lift the decades-old ban without approval from Congress, according to a report being released Thursday.
The report said Department of Defense regulations designed to keep transgender people from joining or remaining in the military on the grounds of psychological and physical unfitness are based on outdated beliefs that require thousands of current service members either to leave the service or to forego the medical procedures and other changes that could align their bodies and gender identities.
"We determined not only that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban, but also that the ban itself is an expensive, damaging and unfair barrier to health care access for the approximately 15,450 transgender personnel who serve currently in the active, Guard and reserve components," said the commission led by Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who served as surgeon general during Bill Clinton's first term as president, and Rear Adm. Alan Steinman, a former chief health and safety director for the Coast Guard.
The Palm Center is recommending that President Obama issue an executive order to the Department of Defense to amend its regulations regarding transgender military members.
According to AP, The Palm Center is funded in part by a $1.3 million grant from Jennifer Pritzker, a billionaire former Army lieutenant colonel who came out as transgender last year.