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AMA disputes transgender military policy in letter to Sec. Def. Mattis
From news releases
2018-04-04

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Palm Center Statement on American Medical Association Letter of Criticism to Defense Secretary Mattis:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin released the following statement in response to today's American Medical Association letter disputing the rationale for President Trump's transgender ban.

"Today's AMA statement that 'there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service' underscores the expert consensus that transition-related care is reliable, safe and effective. Unfortunately, as the AMA points out, the Trump administration has 'mischaracterized and rejected the wide body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care.' The rationale for the transgender ban has now been repudiated by the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and two former U.S. Surgeons General. The administration tried to reverse-engineer a rationale for the ban, but the President and the Defense Department are on the wrong side of science."

The Palm Center is an independent research institute committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial issues of the day. Our research has been published in leading social science journals and extensively consulted and cited by US military leaders. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for scholars, policymakers, journalists, opinion leaders, students and the public at large. For more information, visit us at www.palmcenter.org .

April 3, 2018

To The Honorable James N. Mattis Secretary

Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Mattis:

On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the American Medical Association ( AMA ), I am writing to express our concern about the new policy recently approved by President Trump imposing limits on transgender individuals serving in the military. This new policy, based on recommendations you made in February to President Trump, states that "transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria—individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery—are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances" ( Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security Regarding Military Service by Transgender Individuals, May 23, 2018 ).

We believe there is no medically valid reason—including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria—to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender individuals have served, and continue to serve, our country with honor, and we believe they should be allowed to continue doing so. We share the concerns recently expressed by former Surgeons General M. Joycelyn Elders and David Satcher that the Defense Department's February 22, 2018, Memorandum for the President mischaracterized and rejected the wide body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care. This research, demonstrating that medical care for gender dysphoria is effective, was the rationale for the AMA's adoption of policy by our House of Delegates in 2015, that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service.

The AMA also supports public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by the patient's physician. 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. It should not be used as a reason to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country. We should be honoring their service.

Sincerely,

James L. Madara, MD

Statement from the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) — the nation's largest organization of LGBT military families:

"The medical experts have made it clear to the world that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are making up 'alternative facts' in order to implement their unconscionable transgender military ban," said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. "History will look back on this administration in disdain for their blatant discrimination against brave American heroes. We will not rest until our military families are protected from this indefensible assault."

Semper Fi,

Stephen Peters

Founder & President Emeritus

The American Military Partner Association

www.MilitaryPartners.org


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