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No medical reason for transgender ban in military, panel says

A Palm Center study found "no compelling medical reason" to maintain ban on transgender men and women in the military.

By Gabrielle Levy

A new study focusing on gender, sexuality and the military found "no compelling medical reason" to leave intact a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

A report, released by the Palm Center at San Francisco State University, explains that "transsexualism" is a condition banned in military regulations but now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual under the name "gender dysphoria" and is considered a "condition that is amenable to treatment."

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"Arguments based on mental health are not convincing rationales for prohibiting transgender military service, and [the ban] is not consistent with modern medical understanding," the report argues. "Scientists have abandoned psychopathological understandings of transgender identity, and no longer classify gender non-conformity as a mental illness."

Additionally, the commission's findings contradicted arguments that suggest hormone therapy and other medical treatments would be too expensive and disruptive for deployment plans.

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"Removal of the military's blanket ban on transgender service members would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the federal government's commitment to reducing disparities in health care access for transgender people," the report reads.

The study was funded with a $1.35 million grant from Jennifer Pritzker, a veteran, billionaire and trans woman, and conducted by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders.

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Palm Center report on Transgenders and the military

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