July 15, 2020 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

LA Pride Leaving West Hollywood

July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

Christopher Street West announces LA Pride will not be in West Hollywood By Sam Catanzaro Christopher Street West (CSW), the...

Local Leaders Celebrate Supreme Court LGBT Discrimination Ban

June 16, 2020

June 16, 2020

Supreme Court votes 6-3 in case Bostock v. Clayon County, Georgia By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles-area leaders are celebrating the...

City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City One Pride’ LGBTQ Arts Festival

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Features a ‘virtual platform’ for arts and cultural events: May 22 through June 30 By Staff Writer Each year, the...

North Hollywood Gay Latino Bar ‘Cobra’ Closed for Business

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Instead adopts virtual entertainment method By Toi Creel The effect of COVID -19 has not only taken a toll on...

LA Pride Pulls out of Black Lives Matter March Facing Backlash

June 10, 2020

June 10, 2020

LA Pride organizers face backlash after seeking police permit By Sam Catanzaro L.A. Pride will not be involved in an...

Requiring CA to Collect Data on COVID-19’s Health Impacts on the LGTBQ Community?

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Currently, California collects data on COVID-19’s impacts on different races/ethnicities; SB 932 would expand this data collection to include the...

How COVID-19 Impacts Black LGBTQ+ People

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Amidst horrifying racial disparities, “COVID While Black and Queer” is a new data initiative that will shine a light on...

PBS Celebrates Pride Month with PRIDELAND

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Short-Form Digital Series and New One-Hour Special with Host and Actor Dyllón Burnside, Exploring LGBTQ+ Identity in the U.S. South...

Covid-19 & HIV: Who Are You Choosing To Be?

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

By Staff Writer A free zoom seminar this Friday, May 15, 2020 from 12:00-2:00pm. This weeks event covers Covid-19, HIV:...

CA Attorney General Urges FDA to Eliminate Bias Against Gay and Bisexual Men for Blood Donations

April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a multistate coalition in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human...

Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Confirmed as WEHO’s Rate Continues to Rise

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed over 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus...

GLAAD to Host COVID-19 Event Featuring Pete Buttigieg and More

April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

LAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced that Billy Porter, Pete &...

Over 500 Medical Professionals Sign Letter The FDA To Eliminate Ban On Gay And Bisexual Men Donating Blood

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today released an open letter penned by over...

Lawmakers Ask State and Counties to Collect Data on LGBTQ Community and COVID-19

April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Chair and Vice-Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus respectively, sent...

WeHo’s High COVID-19 Rate

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

City of West Hollywood has highest rate of COVID-19 in LA Countywide, LGBTQ population at risk By Sam Catanzaro As...