Wednesday, April 10, 2019

APA Protests New Policy Against Transgender Military Service Members

APA is protesting the implementation of a ban that goes into effect on Friday, April 12, on transgender individuals serving in the military. As of that day, the Department of Defense (DoD) is requiring transgender service members to follow the standards of their biological sex or be removed from service.

DoD policy under former President Barack Obama allowed transgender service members to seek treatment; now DoD intends to discriminate against those who came forward, APA said in a statement released yesterday.

“APA has long fought against discrimination against any patient population,” said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. “This ban perpetuates discrimination and stigma against transgender people. Furthermore, this ban harms the military by depriving the service branches of willing and capable members.”

President Donald Trump signed the ban last March, which disqualifies individuals who are transgender from serving in the military except under certain limited circumstances. In response, four federal courts issued preliminary injunctions to block it. But in January, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision lifted the injunctions and allowed the ban to take effect while the cases challenging the policy continue to wind their way through the courts.

“As physicians providing treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders, we affirm that being transgender or gender diverse implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or ability to serve in the military,” APA said in its statement. “We urge the administration to eliminate this policy and instead work with our organization to ensure policy decisions are informed by medical evidence.”

A position statement first approved by the APA Board of Trustees in 2012 and re-approved last year opposes discrimination against transgender and gender-diverse individuals and urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against these individuals.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “APA Opposes Ban on Transgender Military.”

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