The Palm Center is launching 11 different studies that aim to fully investigate the issue of trans servicemembers in today’s military and how we can lift the ban on trans soldiers.
When in 2011 the Obama administration signed into a law a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule that banned openly gay servicemembers, LGBT rights advocates praised the step but were quick to point out that the fight would continue. This is because trans servicemembers still face discrimination in the military under different regulations that categorize trans identity as a mental illness that can lead to a discharge from service.
Now the Palm Center, a leading researcher on sexual and gender minorities in the military, is about to embark on a three year research campaign involving 16 scholars and 11 studies to ascertain “whether and how the US armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness.”
Project Director Indra Lusero has said this research will be used to “inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces.” She added that, “Militaries around the world are updating their policies, and we are already conducting research in Canada, Britain and Australia to learn whether their trans-inclusive regulations have impacted readiness.”
Currently, Canada, Britain and Australia all allow trans servicemembers. The United States military, in contrast, has a DADT-style approach that forces trans members to remain in the closet or face sanction or even discharge.
The research will span 11 key areas. Here is a brief list of each study and a quick explanation of each study’s main goal:
This new research builds on the Palm Center’s 14 year history of researching gay and lesbian servicemembers and their inclusion in the military. In total, this research is set to cost approximately $1.35 million and will be funded by grants provided by Wells Fargo Bank and the Tawani Foundation.
Earlier this year, Kristin Beck, A Navy veteran of 20 years, went public about her life in the military and subsequently coming out as a trans woman, shedding light on the life of trans servicemembers and also helping expose the discrimination they can face.
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