The American Medical Association (AMA)—the nation’s largest group of doctors—is arguing that there’s ‘no valid medical reason’ to ban transgender people from serving in the military. This comes after President Trump’s latest announcement barring trans people from registering in the United States military.
The AMA’s letter
‘We believe there is no medically valid reason—including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria—to exclude transgender individuals from military service,’ the AMA wrote in a 3 April letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
‘Transgender individuals have served, and continue to serve, our country with honor, and we believe they should be allowed to continue doing so.’
The letter, signed my AMA CEO James Madara, states that Mattis’ recommendations to the President ‘mischaracterized and rejected the wide body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care.’
Defense Department study
A 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, commissioned by the Defense Department, found the number of trans service members seeking transition-related medical care is ‘so small’ that it would have ‘marginal impact’ on healthcare costs and military readiness.
The study reported that there are roughly 1,320 to 6,630 transgender soldiers out of the 1.3 million service members on active duty. Only between 29 and 129 of those service members will seek transition-related care that could ‘disrupt their ability to deploy.’
The study also estimated the cost of gender transition healthcare coverage could range from $2.4 million [£1,703,688; €1,951,464] to $8.4 million [£5,962,908; €6,830,124] a year. This is just a 0.04% to 0.13% increase in active duty medical costs.
‘We support the finding of the RAND study conducted for the Department of Defense on the impact of transgender individuals in the military that the financial cost is negligible and a rounding error in the defense budget,’ Madara wrote in the letter.
‘It should not be used as a reason to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country. We should be honoring their service.’