Transgender in the Military: Part 1

Back in the 1980’s, it was estimated that 3 in every 100,000 males were transgender. These numbers came from the general population. It was presumed that in the military that rate would be lower. There were reasons for people to think that way in the 80’s. For instance, it was assumed that transgendered males would not voluntarily join an institution (the military) that did not allow for deviance. That was the general consensus. However, psychiatry doctors found that they were seeing more and more military patients who were asking for information on either hormone therapy or full blown male-to-female gender reassignment surgery.

Today, we know that the Pentagon is considering a lift on the current ban that does not allow transgender individuals to join. The ban is expected to be lifted sometime next year. This, of course, has led to a flurry of research and the findings may be surprising. We now know that there are far more transgendered individuals currently in the military (on average) than found in the US general population.

According to a study conducted by UCLA, published last year, it is estimated that about 150,000 transgendered individuals have now served within the various military branches. This comes out to a little over 20 percent of all of the transgendered persons known to be in the US. Compare this to the 10 percent of US adults who are not transgender who have served in the military.

TransSo, why the large difference? One assumption that transgender personnel sign up for military duty is that they want to prove they are still “manly.” This according to a specialist in gender identity issues working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tennessee. In addition, some chose extremely dangerous duty jobs, again, to prove something to themselves and to others.

It should be kept in mind that no one really knows how many transgender people are in the general population. It is all speculation based on certain studies, usually small ones. Even so, the current estimate is that there are 3 transgender people for every 1000 US adults. This is 100 times more than the estimate made back during the 80’s. These numbers come from the Williams Institute at UCLA, and were made in 2011.

The main reason it is so difficult to come up with an accurate number of transgender personnel in the military is that they do not reveal themselves because they will be kicked out of service if they do. The VA reports that in 2011, out of every 100,000 patients they saw, 23 were diagnosed with gender identity disorder. This diagnosis is used to describe certain gender identity issues which can progress to significant levels of psychological distress. It has also been associated with a higher risk of suicide. This is five times the reported rate found in the general population.

It should be also be noted that in 2011 the VA started offering hormone therapy (as well some other nonsurgical treatments) for its transgender patients. Some believe that this accounts for the higher number of diagnoses.

See Part Two for the Conclusion of this story…

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain

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