Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) praised the news that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has proposed a new rule change that will lift the “regulatory prohibition that categorically excludes all treatment of gender dysphoria,” thereby extending crucially needed medical care to transgender service members, veterans, and military family members covered under Tricare. The proposed change would not include surgical care, which according to the DoD remains prohibited by statute at 10 U.S.C. 1079(a)(11), but would cover care such as hormone replacement therapy.
“All service members, veterans, and military dependents, no matter their gender identity, deserve access to the medical care they’ve earned serving our great nation,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “This proposed rule change from the Department of Defense would be an incredibly important step in the right direction to help ensure our transgender service members and family members finally receive the crucial medical care they need. As we await a decision from the Secretary of Defense on whether to lift the ban on transgender troops serving openly and honestly, this news is encouraging.”
The news comes as the Secretary of Defense is set to announce his decision by this spring on whether to lift the ban on transgender service members by updating the outdated regulations which prevent them from serving openly and honestly.
In March of last year, AMPA launched an unprecedented joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm the outdated regulations inflict on military families. The report notes, “The outdated regulations serve no purpose and only dehumanize and prevent qualified and capable individuals from enlisting and serving. The ban perpetuates trauma to all those involved, both the service member and their family.”
In June of 2015, the American Medical Association approved a resolution saying there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the U.S. military.”
There are an estimated 15,500 transgender service members currently serving in silence.