Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General co-chaired the report.

We applaud the Palm Center Commission Report issued today that concludes there is no compelling medical reason to continue to prohibit transgender people from serving openly. We join the call to President Obama to lift the decades-old ban. The report found that the ban is expensive and imposes damaging health care barriers to the estimated 15,500 currently serving transgender military personnel. Transgender military exclusions been successfully eliminated in at least ten nations including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and it is time for the United States to join them. We are hopeful that the Commission Report will move the Department of Defense to reconsider its outdated medical understanding of transgender people in light of the most recent medical information and science. Transgender military personnel have dedicated themselves to serving our country. It is past time for the military to honor that service by allowing them to serve openly and authentically.


Among the report’s findings
:

  • There is no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service, and medical regulations requiring the discharge of all transgender personnel are inconsistent with how the military regulates medical and psychological conditions.
  • Medical conditions related to transgender identity are the only gender-related conditions requiring discharge irrespective of fitness for duty.
  • Eliminating the ban would advance numerous military interests, including enabling commanders to better care for their service members.
  • Other military regulations have been updated to reflect the latest consensus of psychiatric experts on mental health issues, but while that consensus no longer classifies gender non-conformity as a mental illness, military regulations have not been amended to reflect the latest understanding of the scientific community about gender non-conformity.
  • The prohibition on medically-necessary cross-sex hormone treatment is based on inaccurate understandings of the complexity, risks and efficacy of such treatments, and is inconsistent with the fact that many non-transgender military personnel use prescribed medications of similar strength, even while deployed to combat zones.
  • Non-transgender personnel are allowed to undergo reconstructive surgeries, while transgender personnel are barred from obtaining medically-necessary gender-confirming surgery, at great cost to their physical and mental health.
  • Existing medical and other regulations are fully adequate to govern the service of transgender personnel and any related medical conditions that arise.
  • The US military can look to the experiences and standards of at least twelve allied militaries that allow transgender service, as well as several inclusive US federal agencies, as models in formulating administrative policy to address fitness testing, records and identification, uniforms, housing and privacy for transgender military service.