As Transgender Military Ban Goes Into Effect, Groups Speak Out

The Pentagon's decision to rescind rules that allowed transgender people to serve in the military went into effect Friday, drawing condemnation from several organizations, including the American Medical Association.

As the U.S military reverted  to a policy banning transgender individuals from serving, one of the most respected voices in the medical sphere spoke out.

The American Medical Association called out the Pentagon’s reasoning for the policy in an interview with the Associated Press. Effective Friday, the Defense Department added transitioning to another gender as one of its “administratively disqualifying conditions.”  In an interview with the AP, AMA President Dr. Barbara L. McAneny particularly took issue with language describing transgender people as having a “deficiency.”

“The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision,” she said. “The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason—including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria—to exclude transgender individuals from military service.”

The decision reverses an Obama-era policy that ended the ban, one of a series of changes in the former administration that also ended a prohibition on gay and lesbian servicemembers. AMA, along with many other groups, has spoken out previously against the reinstatement of the transgender ban, which was first announced by President Donald Trump on Twitter in 2017 and later formalized by the Defense Department.

Other organizations that criticized the ban this week included:

American Military Partner Association. AMPA, the largest organization representing the families of LGBTQ soldiers, characterized the move as a dangerous regression to the days of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” “Thousands of transgender service members and qualified recruits are willing to risk their very lives for our nation, and we will not stop fighting to reverse this unconscionable ban until they are once again able to serve openly and authentically as they deserve,” AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a news release.

Human Rights Campaign. The LGBTQ rights group has been out front on this issue, thanks in part to a well-timed media appearance by one of its employees. Charlotte Clymer, a high-profile Army veteran and transgender military activist who works for HRC, shared her view of the shift in a televised op-ed that aired this past week on CBS Sunday Morning. She spoke about her experiences in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, which is responsible for managing burials at Arlington National Cemetery. “All I know about those I carried was that they died in selfless service, and they wore the flag of this country to the grave,” she said.

GLAAD. The LGBTQ rights group launched a profile picture campaign on Friday, as the policy change went into effect, encouraging a show of support for trans people. “The ampersand represents the power of our voices together,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a tweet. Prominent LGBTQ celebrities such as Wanda Sykes, Laverne Cox, and Wilson Cruz took part.

(timyee/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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