My comment at OutServe Re: Transgender Service
“When I came out and began to interact with other women in the trans community, I was almost immediately given cause to notice how many of my newfound friends were/are veterans. I am not exaggerating when I say that it seems like practically every other trans woman that I know has served in one branch or another of our armed forces, and I know several others worldwide who have served or are serving in, their country’s armed forces, some openly, in those countries which do not ban the service of trans people.
While I am an advocate of removal of diagnoses related to gender identity and expression from the DSM, I agree with Mara Keisling that lifting of the DoD medical restrictions that either disqualify one from service or qualify one for separation from service should not be dependent on removal of the diagnoses, especially considering the considerable amount of controversy currently surrounding the planned revision of the DSM, especially the section which pertains to gender identity and expression.
Incidentally, I would like to note for readers who may be unaware that the principal document detailing the specifics of the disqualification for trans people is DoDI 6130.3, incorporating Change 1, September 13, 2011, “Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services”. The contents of this document are entirely within the purview of the Executive, and authority to grant waivers resides with the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Commandant of the Coast Guard.
If it is in fact the case that it is DoD policy to (as stated in the above referenced DoDI):
“Ensure that individuals under consideration for appointment, enlistment, or induction into the Military Services are: (1) Free of contagious diseases that probably will endanger the health of other personnel. (2) Free of medical conditions or physical defects that may require excessive time lost from duty for necessary treatment or hospitalization, or probably will result in separation from the Service for medical unfitness. (3) Medically capable of satisfactorily completing required training. (4) Medically adaptable to the military environment without the necessity of geographical area limitations. (5) Medically capable of performing duties without aggravation of existing physical defects or medical conditions.”
…then as far as I can see, there is no valid reason why the conditions noted as being unsatisfactory are valid concerns. Any medical expert familiar with the treatment of transgender and/or transsexual patients can tell you that there is no reason why a trans person in good health should not be able to meet the same physical performance requirements of other soldiers and meet the criteria of DoD policy I note here merely on the basis of being trans.
It is past time for the United States to join the first rank of nations in this regard, and allow trans people to serve openly, with dignity, and with honor. The legacy of our great nation demands no less.”