July 6, 2016

Palm Center Assesses Details of DOD’s New Transgender Policy: New Policy Lauded as ‘Exemplary’

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In a memo released today, the Palm Center, an independent research center publishing state-of-the-art scholarship on transgender personnel in the military, dubbed the Pentagon’s new rules on transgender service “exemplary” because they pass key tests necessary for the successful implementation of inclusive policy.

“The new policy on transgender service promotes military readiness,” said Aaron Belkin, Palm Center director and a leading expert on the military service of LGBT Americans, “because open service begins now, meaning that undoing repeal would require the impossible task of forcing transgender personnel to go back into the closet; the military will provide transgender service members with all medically necessary care, as is the case for all personnel; transgender troops will be held to the same standards as non-transgender troops; and gender dysphoria will be treated like any other medical condition.”

The new memo is based on a detailed review of documents released by DOD in conjunction with its announcement of repeal last week. It also incorporates best practices that Palm Center scholars have studied for more than three years, including lessons learned from eighteen allied militaries as well as federal agencies such as the FBI and CIA, all of which allow transgender service. Belkin added that DOD’s new policy includes thoughtful implementation guidance to ensure smooth and expeditious change, and that new rules reflect research showing that implementing inclusive policy is not complicated. “It is not difficult to let people be honest about who they are,” he said.