Transgender People Can Now Serve Openly in the Military, and It’s About Time

Transgender Service

Transgender Service
By The U.S. Army (President Obama praises troops in Iraq) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This is very significant. The U.S. Federal Government under President Obama has in eight short years erased decades of institutionalized discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. This President has done more for LGBTQ rights than any other President. There simply is no second place.

In removing these barriers to service, America will be joining other countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom which have already allowed transgender persons to serve in their militaries. The fact that so many countries do have effective fighting forces and that the inclusion of transgender persons has not negatively impacted their armed services shows that there really is no good excuse to deny military service.

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Transgender people are no less able protect, serve, fight, and if need be die for their country than anyone else. America has had many very respected soldiers that later transitioned after leaving the service or were forced to leave due to their transition in the past. Some of these included Navy Seals like Kristin Beck, American Revolutionary war soldiers such as Albert Cashier, Marines such as Janae Kroc, Army Lieutenant Colonel and billionaire Jennifer Pritzker, Army Colonel Sheri Swokowski and naval officers such as Mary Elizabeth Clark and Autumn Sandeen amongst many others. It is estimated that as many as 15,000 current military soldiers may be serving with untreated gender dysphoria.

Medical studies and surveys have consistently shown that medical treatment for gender dysphoria leads to better job performance, greater confidence and wellbeing and lower incidences of depression and suicide compared to going untreated. United States soldiers should not feel they need to hide this condition so that they can serve their country. This policy follows a line of good common sense backed by proven science. One can only imagine how much more some of the highly decorated individuals named above might have been able to achieve had they been allowed to continue to serve openly transgender.

Like any other job, the only factor that should apply to being accepted or denied employment is the employee’s individual performance and ability to meet the qualifications of the position. There simply is no factor that is unique to transgender people as a whole that makes them any less able to meet the qualifications of being a soldier or completing their mission than any other American.

Although transgender persons have medical needs, these needs are not in any way significantly limiting compared to many other conditions that soldiers are allowed to serve with. At most a transgender person requires a shot twice a month or a couple of very small pills daily.

This is a big win for equality and for the government in recognizing that transgender people are just as able and capable of performing any job as well as anyone else.

With this change, one of the few barriers still left is medical insurance companies still being allowed to exclude transgender health care from their plans. This too may soon be changing. A change supported by the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association which all consider this to be a medically necessary surgery. The costs of transgender surgeries (taken as a whole) are no more expensive than for example gallbladder removal and present at a smaller rate of incidence and with lower rates of complications. For the record, Gallbladder Removal (Cholecystectomy) surgeries are not excluded from coverage.

This article by Plantrans contributor Ariel Williams can also be seen on Huffington Post and Newsweek.

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Ariel Williams is a dreamer, artist and writer. She has been published on numerous sites including; Gizmodo, BBC, Forbes, Slate, The Huffington Post, Nerdist, and Thought Catalog as well as Planet Transgender. Ariel is also a nerd, geek, tabletop roleplayer and can write about herself in the third person when the need arises. She tends to write about pop culture, and nerdy things and is a frequent contributor to and Top Writer on Quora.


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  3. So there’s a current need for ethnic cleansing after all?Will they include plans to shove a few hundred thousand more into Lebanon while they also bombard that benighted country again? They won’t all fit into the prisons!

  4. >> And how, precisely, does the institution of marriage protect battered wives, alcoholic spouses, abused children, incest, indoctrination, childhood obesity, anorexia and bulimia, bullying and low seermestel-?Cofrection: And how, precisely, does the institution of marriage protect battered wives and abused children, and defend against alcoholic spouses, incest, indoctrination, childhood obesity, anorexia and bulimia, bullying and low self-esteem?

  5. I was one of the Navy people that was forced out for being Transgender with a medical discharge!


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