Medical group passes resolution on transgender service members

Medical group passes resolution on transgender service members
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At its annual meeting in Chicago, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution to declare no medically valid reason to exclude transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

The resolution, which passed by a unanimous vote, calls the military’s medical rules governing transgender service “out of date with respect to the medical consensus about gender identity."

There are an estimated 15,500 transgender personnel currently serving in the active, guard or reserve branches of the military, but current rules prohibit military doctors from proving those members treatment for gender dysphoria, which is the formal diagnosis for someone who identifies with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. Transgender military members also risk being discharged if their gender dysphoria is discovered during military service.

“The new AMA policy adds to a growing public consensus, including former public health and military officers, which questions the military’s policies toward transgender individuals, and the negative impact these policies have on the health of transgender service members,” AMA President Dr. Robert Wah said in a statement.

When proposed last month, four former U.S. surgeon generals — Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, Dr. David Satcher, Dr. Regina Benjamin and Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu — said they agreed with the resolution.  

“Transgender service members should, as is the case with all personnel, receive the medical care that they need,” they said in a statement.

The Palm Center, a gay rights organization said Monday’s vote undermines the military’s rationale for firing transgender personnel. 

“The military disqualifies transgender personnel without any chance to show fitness for duty,” the center’s Diane Mazur, the center’s vice president of legal research said in a statement, “and it denies them medical care it would provide to other service members. It’s an arbitrary over-reaction to something the military simply does not understand well.