The nation’s largest association of medical professionals has rebuked Trump’s trans military ban.
Dr. James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA) claims in a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis that there is “no medically valid reason” to prevent transgender people from enlisting in the armed forces, which includes “a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.”
Following similar statements from the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association, the AMA is the third U.S. medical organization to denounce the president’s policy. First announced in a series of July 2017 tweets, Trump reinstated the ban in a 44-page document released on March 24even after four federal courts ruled against the discriminatory policy.
According to the Pentagon, individuals who “require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified.”
“[T]he Department concludes that accommodating gender transition could impair unit readiness; undermine unit cohesion, as well as good order and discipline, by blurring the clear lines that demarcate male and female standards and policies where they exist; and lead to disproportionate costs,” it reads.
“Underlying these conclusions is the considerable scientific uncertainty and overall lack of high quality scientific evidence demonstrating the extent to which transition-related treatments, such as cross-sex hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgeryinterventions which are unique in psychiatry and medicineremedy the multi-faceted mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria,” the order continues.
Transgender people will be allowed to serve under “limited circumstances,” according to the White House. In order to enlist in the armed forces, trans individuals must present corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth.
The AMA claims those conclusions are inaccurate.
To begin, Madara says the assertion that hormone therapy and transition-related care is ineffective mischaracterizes “the wide body of peer-reviewed research” showing that trans people are happier, healthier, and less likely to self-harm when they are allowed to live as the gender with which they identify.
The organization also claims that the president’s repeated assertions trans military service would result in “tremendous medical costs and disruption” isn’t true.
“The financial cost is negligible and a rounding error in the defense budget,” Madara writes. “It should not be used as a reason to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country. We should be honoring their service.”
A 2016 RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon shows the cost of providing gender-affirming care to transgender troops would be a fraction of the Pentagon’s overall budget. The price tag would amount to between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, far less than the “billions” cited by conservative groups.
This isn’t the first time the AMA has come out against the president’s quest to ban transgender people from joining the armed forces.
When Trump first tweeted his intention to block trans military service last Julya proposal he allegedly thought about for 10 minutes before posting itthe group released a nearly identical statement to the one put out this week. AMA President David Barbe claimed there was “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service.”
“Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so,” he said at the time.