Monday, June 8, 2015

AMA House Backs Ending Ban on Transgender Individuals Serving in Military

There is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the U.S. military, and transgender service members should be provided care according to the same medical standards that apply to nontransgender personnel. So declared the AMA House of Delegates this afternoon during its 2015 annual policymaking meeting by approving a resolution introduced by the Section Council on Psychiatry in coordination with several other groups.

The resolution was widely supported during reference committee hearings and approved without debate during the meeting of the House today. “This resolution is about ending the blanket ban that prohibits transgender people from military service and transgender military service members from equal access to care,” said psychiatrist Brian Hurley, M.D. (pictured above), a delegate to the Section Council on Psychiatry from GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. (The latter is the full name of the group formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.)

“There is a difference between having a transgender identity and having gender dysphoria, and there is no reason that transgender status alone should exclude anyone from military service or equal access to care,” Hurley said. “This resolution asks the AMA to state that there is no medical justification for this blanket ban, and in doing so, empower military physicians and commanders to assess readiness to serve on a case-by-case basis.

“We don't exclude gay people from military service or treat gay people and straight people according to different standards of care, so there is no justification for a continuing ban that treats transgender people different from cisgender people,” Hurley said. “There are over 15,000 transgender service members who remain closeted as a matter of policy, so it is urgent that the AMA weigh in now to affirm that there is no medical justification for this discriminatory policy.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Newest AMA Section Council Member Brings Focus on LGBT Health.”

(Image: Mark Moran)


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