US: Former Surgeon General urges lifting ban on trans people in the military

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A report backed by the former US Surgeon General has urged the lifting of a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

The report, released today by Palm Center, part of San Fancisco State University’s Department of Political Science, found that the ban “is not consistent with modern medical understanding”.

Advocate reports that trans people are banned from the military under a medical regulation, DODI 6130.03, which states any gender-confirming clinical, medical, or surgical treatments as “disqualifying physical and mental conditions” for military service.

Former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders co-chaired the report, and declared there is “no compelling medical reason” for the ban, which dates back to the 1960s, to remain in place.

The report reads: “Removal of the military’s blanket ban on transgender service members would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the federal government’s commitment to reducing disparities in health care access for transgender people.”

“Arguments based on mental health are not convincing rationales for prohibiting transgender military service, and [the ban] is not consistent with modern medical understanding.

“Scientists have abandoned psychopathological understandings of transgender identity, and no longer classify gender non-conformity as a mental illness.

Elders said: “I hope their takeaway will be we should evaluate every one of our people on the basis of their ability and what they can do, and if they have a condition we can treat we would treat it like we would treat anyone else”

Responding to the findings, Navy Lieutenant Commander Nate Christensen said: “At this time there are no plans to change the department’s policy and regulations which do not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military.”

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who served in the US Army for several years, came out as transgender last year.