The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force seized on an advocacy group’s report on transgender military service Thursday to call on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order allowing transgender men and women to serve in the military.
“We commend the commission for stating independently what we all know: there is no compelling medical reason to exclude trans people from serving their country, and transitions would place almost no burden on the military,” Rea Carey, executive director of the task force, said in a press release . “The President should sign an executive order to lift the transgender military service ban.
“It’s time to finish the job on repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ once and for all,” Carey said.
The report was compiled by what an “independent commission,” headed by former Clinton-era Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who was asked to step down after recommending schools teach children about masturbation as a way to avoid spreading AIDS, according to the Associated Press.
“The five-member panel, convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University, said Department of Defense regulations designed to keep transgender people out of the military are based on outdated beliefs that require thousands of current service members either to leave the service or to forego the medical procedures and other changes that could align their bodies and gender identities,” the AP reported.
“We determined not only that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban, but also that the ban itself is an expensive, damaging and unfair barrier to health care access for the approximately 15,450 transgender personnel who serve currently in the active, Guard and reserve components,” the commission stated.
“Medical standards for enlistment are generally designed to ensure that applicants are free of conditions that would interfere with duty performance, endanger oneself or others, or impose undue burdens for medical care. The regulations, however, bar the enlistment of transgender individuals regardless of ability to perform or degree of medical risk,” the commission said in its report.
“Unlike other medical disqualifications, which are based on modern medical expertise and military experience, the transgender enlistment bar is based on standards that are decades out of date,” the report added.
The report compared sex-change surgery and other treatments transgenders undergo to health care services that are routinely provided for all troops.