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Pentagon study contradicts Trump administration on transgender troop ban

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Ash Orr (they/he)

A new report using the Pentagon’s own data contradicts the reasons given by the Trump administration for banning transgender troops.

Authored by three former Surgeons General from the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, the report from the Palm Center highlights a study conducted by the Pentagon analyzing the performance of nearly 1,000 transgender troops, 40 percent of whom served during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn. 

“Exactly one individual deploying with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria was unable to complete the deployment for mental health reasons since the policy protecting transgender personnel from arbitrary dismissal was established in June 2016,” write the study’s authors.

This report comes alongside the recent confirmation by all four service chiefs representing the branches of the armed forces that the inclusion of transgender troops has resulted in no damage to unit cohesion or morale. 

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, offered the following response to the new report:

“The findings of this report are a damning refutation of the administration’s flimsy excuses for its proposal. It is now clearer than ever that transgender people have, can, and do serve this country with honor, strength, and dignity. Putting that simple fact into question is not just an attack on the thousands of brave transgender troops - it is an attempt to limit the rights of transgender people as full members of society. 

After all, if the administration can raise suspicion about our ability to serve in the military, who’s to stop them from raising suspicion about our ability to teach in our schools? Run for office? Or defend our rights in the court of law?
Transgender people deserve equal and fair treatment in every part of our society - including the military. We should be building policy around the needs and well-being of our troops, not the fanatical prejudice of people like Mike Pence. We cannot let suspicion and fear determine who is and who is not able to reach their full potential as an American.“

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