Military Transgender Ban To End May 2016

The U.S. military transgender ban will end in May of next year. There are approximately 20 transgender troops in the Air Force and the Army, according to a Defense Department staffer’s comments shared by MSN. A new pilot program will reportedly offer leave for any transgender soldier who elects to undergo hormone treatment or transition-related surgery.

Gender dysphoria disqualifies transgender individuals from joining the United States military, but a de facto moratorium on the dismissal of troops based on the policy was issued by Defense Secretary Ash Carter last month. Carter also ordered that a six-month review of transgender military member issues take place.

A memo reportedly authored by the Defense Secretary tasked the reviewers to identify “objective, practical impediments” to service provided by transgender individuals in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. During the policy review period, Ash Carter reportedly stated that any dismissal cited as part of the military transgender ban had to be approved by him personally.

Some of the issues involving transgender troops related to housing issues, transition-related medical treatment coverage, uniforms, and physical fitness standards compliance. A report published by the New England Journal of Medicine compiled by the Palm Center sated that is would cost the U.S. military (and, by extension, the American taxpayers) approximately $5.6 million per year to medically treat transgender armed forced members. LGBT advocates applaud Carter’s decision to review the transgender policy.

The Palm Center estimated that roughly 188 of the possibly 12,000 transgender troops in the military would seek some type of gender transition treatment each year.

“In 2014, scholars estimated that 15,500 transgender personnel served in the military out of a total force of 2,581,000,” the Palm Center report said. “Assuming that the number of transgender personnel has declined along with the overall force size, and excluding those serving in Reserve components whose members are ineligible for medical benefits, I estimate that 12,800 transgender troops serve currently and are eligible for health care.”

The Pentagon has not yet decided if transgender troops can be deployed to war zones but will allow extended sabbatical for transition related treatment. Opponents to the end of the transgender military ban have raised concerns that a multitude of individuals will race to join the armed forces in an attempt to garner the estimated $29,929 the Palm Center has determined that desired gender re-assignment procedures typically cost.

Those who were discharged for gender dysphoria might be able to rejoin the military.

What do you think about the military transgender ban?

[Image via: Militarist/]

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