February 22, 2015

Palm Center Response To Defense Secretary Carter’s Remarks On Transgender Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In response to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s comments today in Kandahar, Afghanistan on whether transgender personnel can serve effectively in austere environments, Palm Center director Aaron Belkin issued the following statement:

“In response to a question today about whether transgender troops can serve in austere environments, Secretary Carter asked, ‘are they going to be excellent service members?’ The answer to this question, based on the experiences of the estimated 15,500 transgender troops who are already serving, as well as academic research, is an unqualified yes.

A recent Palm Center study by a former US Surgeon General and retired General and Flag Officers addressed the issue of deployment in austere conditions explicitly and concluded that ‘there is no compelling rationale for banning transgender military service’ and that ‘With few exceptions, transgender service members are deployable and medically ready.’

Another recent Palm Center study by a former U.S. Army Surgeon General and retired General Officers concluded that, ‘formulating and implementing inclusive policy [for transgender personnel] is administratively feasible and neither excessively complex nor burdensome.'”