TLDEF Condemns Reported Ban on Transgender Military Health Care and Deployment

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Condemns

Reported Ban on Transgender Military Health Care and Deployment


New York, NY - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund today responded to reports that the White House is forwarding guidance to military officials that directs Defense Secretary James Mattis to implement policy within six months to cease all transgender-related medical treatment and to use standards of "deployability" to filter out transgender service members. Deployability refers to a determination of whether an individual can function in a war zone. The concerns about trans military service cited by the Administration are clearly disproven by the evidence.


Statement from TLDEF Executive Director, Jillian Weiss


"This news is yet another attack on brave transgender Americans who are serving in our nation’s Armed Forces with with dignity and distinction. We strongly condemn these actions by the Trump Administration that will put transgender troops in harm’s way."


"Transgender people have always been in the military, and always will be. Studies show they serve in the military at about twice the rate of the rest of the population. Studies, including a government-sponsored Rand Corporation study of the U.S. military, have shown that transgender people can ably serve our country without any medical problems, including in deployable areas. Thousands of trans service members have served in the U.S. military without issue. Transgender military personnel serve in the militaries of 18 other countries around the world, including U.S. allies."


"U.S. federal courts have ruled that singling out of transgender people by the government for prejudicial treatment falls afoul of the U.S. Constitution, including denial of medical treatment. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders brought a federal lawsuit two weeks ago on the grounds that a military ban would violate the Constitution. The lawsuit rests on claims of equal protection and due process, and based on the inequity of the reversal of military policy after thousands of service members followed protocol and informed their chain of command that they are transgender. This decision will be reversed by the federal courts, which have long recognized that our Constitution does not allow our government to demean our citizens because of prejudice, in whatever guise presented."


"Having represented transgender personnel to be sent to deployable areas in a discrimination lawsuit, and worked with experts on the issue, it is clear that the relatively minor medical needs of most transgender personnel are no more burdensome than many other medical conditions permitted in deployable areas."



"Transgender people have been and will continue to be loyal and effective service members protecting our country. The question isn't whether to have trans service members. The question is whether we treat them fairly, and with dignity. The United States was founded on the idea of fairness and equal protection of the law. We should do no less for our transgender service members. The President should reverse this dehumanizing decision immediately."


TLDEF Board Member and Navy Veteran Alaina Kupec expressed similar concerns: "Once again, fear and ignorance of what it means to be transgender is used to advance blatant discrimination. This will cost the country far more than it ever could potentially save. Replacing one transgender service man or woman is far more expensive than the training already invested in those serving."


"TLDEF commends all of the brave transgender men and women who have sacrificed their lives in silence and all those who are serving our country with distinction today. Like all members of the armed forces who continually put their lives on the line, transgender service members deserve the dignity that comes with serving openly. TLDEF will continue to advocate for the equality and dignity of transgender people through our impact litigation, educational programs, and Name Change Project."


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