January 17, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

New Study Tears Down Trump Ban

A new study from the Palm Center, a think tank that focuses on the role of LGBTQ+ people in the military, offers a thorough rebuttal to the Trump administration exclusion of trans people from military service.

U.S. President Donald Trump first announced a ban on trans military personnel via Twitter on July 26, writing, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…[t]ransgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” In reality, the president had consulted with neither his generals nor any military experts, and his tweets are directly contradicted by several high-level military reviews, a shared statement by six former U.S. Surgeons General, and a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan public policy think tank.

The courts were fast to point this out in the legal challenges that followed the policy change. One federal judge wrote in November, “President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review,” adding, “A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders.”

Following multiple legal setbacks, the administration produced a report with a more thorough but equally specious justification, entitled, “Department of Defense Report and Recommendations on Military Service by Transgender Persons.” 

In a 56-page rebuttal, the Palm Center argues that the Pentagon’s report mischaracterized scientific research and made unsupported claims based on a highly-selective sample of data. “This report undertakes that assessment and finds its rationale wholly unpersuasive,” the Palm Center study says.

The study tackles the three main arguments made by the Trump administration. First, that trans military personnel are less fit for service because of diagnoses of gender dysphoria—the clinical term for not identifying with one’s assigned gender at birth. Second, the Pentagon’s report claim that there is “considerable scientific uncertainty” about the effectiveness of treating gender dysphoria, further justifying an exclusive policy towards trans people. Finally, the assertion that medical costs for treating trans folks diagnosed with gender dysphoria runs three times higher than costs for other troops and would overburden the military’s healthcare system.

According to the Palm Center’s evaluation, the Department of Defense (DoD) performs a highly-selective reading of the available research and omitted the majority of scientific findings. Contrary to the DoD’s claims, the scientific and medical communities have concluded that gender dysphoria is treatable and does not justify a ban on transgender service in the military. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) have released statements opposing the Trump administration’s decision.

In a statement responding to the DoD’s report, the AMA accused the Pentagon of having “mischaracterized and rejected the wide body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care.”

The studies that the Pentagon cites in support of the ban actually undermine its case, the Palm Center finds. “Critically, even these four studies, supposedly representing the best evidence documenting the uncertainty about transition-related care’s efficacy, all conclude that such care mitigates symptoms of gender dysphoria,” the Center writes.

In addressing the issue of cost, the Palm Center shows a key flaw in the Pentagon’s cost-calculating approach. The DoD reported that costs for people diagnosed with gender dysphoria are three times higher than for average service people. The problem with this figure, the study says, is that whenever you isolate the costs for a specific medical subset, the results will always be higher than the average cost for the entire military. For instance, you would most likely find a similar price gap if you compared medical costs for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with military personnel as a whole.

The study concludes with a turn towards history. “Just like justifications for prohibitions against women and African Americans in the military as well as the failed DADT policy, the case for banning transgender individuals from the armed forces is not supported by evidence and is unpersuasive,” it says.

Related Posts

WeHo Fighting Climate Change

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is currently updating its Climate Action Plan — an effort called “WeHo Climate Action” —...

The Center Offered Free Meals For Those In Need

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

With the unemployment rate in Los Angeles County rising due to the Corona-virus pandemic many are struggling to make ends...

Two New Council Members Sworn-In To The City Council Of WeHo

December 20, 2020

December 20, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has sworn-in two newly elected Councilmembers: Sepi Shyne and John M. Erickson. Each Councilmember took...

L.A. Makeup Artist Is First Trans Man To Compete On “RuPauls Drag Race”

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The cast of RuPauls Drag Race Season 13 has been announced this week revealing its first trans man contestant will...

Weho Celebrates 30th Annual Toy And Food Drive

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The 30th Annual West Hollywood Toy and Food Drive will be accepting monetary donations until Friday, Dec. 18th, 2020 with...

The Center Long Beach Brings Diversity To The Board

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The Center Long Beach has announced the addition of three new members to the board of directors: Long Beach business...

PIQUE Health – Specialized Treatment Plans to Optimize Male Health

December 11, 2020

December 11, 2020

Beverly Hills-based practice helping men come up with a plan to fully optimize their health Now more than ever, amid...

Local LA Teen Named Member Of HRC Foundation Youth Ambassadors

December 10, 2020

December 10, 2020

The Human Rights Campaign have announced that Nico Craig, an 18-year-old DJ and music producer from Los Angeles, has been...

Real Housewives Star Comes Out As A Lesbian

December 10, 2020

December 10, 2020

Braunwyn Windham-Burke star of Real Housewives of Orange County has come out as a lesbian.  In an interview with GLAAD...

LGBTQ Latinx Bar Noa Noa Place Opens

December 6, 2020

December 6, 2020

Noa Noa Place, a new bar dedicated full time to the LGBTQ Latinx community, has opened in Boyle Heights.  As...

Wet For Her The Perfect Gift For Your Lover

December 6, 2020

December 6, 2020

Wet For Her is an online retailer designed specifically for lesbian and queer communities offering a new approach to sex...

The Facts And Health Benefits Of Masturbation

December 5, 2020

December 5, 2020

We know about the pleasures associated with masturbation, but are there health benefits of masturbation related to it as well?...

World AIDS Day

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

World AIDS Day, designated on Dec.1st each year, was first observed in 1988.  This year, similar to previous years, organizations...

Laverne Cox Gives Details On Transphobic Attack

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

Trans Actress Laverne Cox star of the Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black” took to social media to detail...

Actor Elliot Page Announces He Is Transgender

December 2, 2020

December 2, 2020

Canadian actor Elliot Page announced on social media that he is transgender.  The 33 year old Oscar nominee and ‘The...