Reinstating Transgender Ban Would Disrupt Military Readiness

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - August 23, 2017 - Palm Center director Aaron Belkin made the following statement in response to reports that the White House is preparing to issue guidance clarifying the President's call for a military ban on transgender troops:

"It is unconscionable that the Commander-in-Chief would take aim at his own, loyally serving troops for political reasons at a time when the military needs to focus on real threats."

"Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and General Martin Dempsey issued statements in support of our nation's transgender troops, and fifty-six retired Generals and Admirals concluded that banning transgender troops would 'cause significant disruptions' and would 'degrade readiness even more than the failed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.' These distinguished military leaders are correct."

"Transgender troops have been serving openly in the U.S. military for more than a year, and have been widely praised by Commanders. Eighteen foreign militaries allow transgender personnel to serve, and none have reported any compromise to readiness. All available research, including scholarly publications by the RAND Corporation as well as retired General and Flag Officers, has reached the same conclusion: inclusive policy for LGBT personnel promotes readiness."

"Imposing one set of standards for transgender troops, and another set of standards for everyone else is a recipe for disruption, distraction and waste."

About The Palm Center

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 public policy issues. Our research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public. For more information, see

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