Chief Communications Officer
American Medical Student Association
President and Commander-in-Chief Donald J. Trump has seemingly recanted many of his campaign promises to protect the LGBTQ community. AMSA opposes his most recent unveiling: An attack on the civil liberties of United States military transgender service personnel.
STERLING, Virginia – July 28, 2017 – Barely 48 hours ago, President Trump used Twitter to make a sweeping policy announcement:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” The White House further claims implementation of this transgender ban will proceed lawfully with cooperation from the Department of Defense.
RAND Corporation, whose research spearheaded the 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military, published a study in 2016 assessing the implications of allowing transgender personnel to serve openly. These data conflict with the president’s impressions of the burden transgender military personnel cause on the American public and military operations. RAND estimates between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals are actively serving out of approximately 1.3 million total service members. Coverage of active-component health care costs for transgender military service personnel is estimated to have a 0.04% to 0.13% increase in active-component health care expenditures. Likewise, while White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders states, “This is about military readiness…unit cohesion… [and] resources within the military,” RAND estimates that as few as 10 active duty members could have reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments.
Revoking the rights of transgender people to serve the United States departs from the norm of civilized society. At least 18 other countries around the world—including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom–welcome the transgender community to enlist in military service openly. AMSA believes that ensuring the delivery of high quality health care for all military personnel is essential for the ability of the United States to respond to national emergencies and threats, and recognizes discrimination of any form as a public health concern, especially as it pertains to access to health care, social isolation, and alienation.
AMSA has long advocated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, and continues to strive to dismantle attacks on civil liberties and double standards that permeate throughout the profession of medicine and society. AMSA believes the promotion of healthy environments is critical to achieving social justice, and supports allowing capable transgender persons to serve openly or undergo gender transition while in the military. We believe healthcare for all transgender persons should be comprehensive. AMSA also supports that transgender service personnel should be eligible for equitable benefits and equal rights as cisgender service personnel such as compensation, health care, and training.
By: Neil Vallabh, AMSA National Vice-President for Internal Affairs
About the American Medical Student Association:
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online.