Trans Americans Twice As Likely to Serve in Military, Study Reveals

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com August 01 2013 5:45 PM ET

Transgender Americans are twice as likely as their cisgender (non-trans) peers to serve in the Armed Forces, according to a study's findings released today by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles' School of Law. Twenty percent of trans people surveyed have served in the military, compared with just 10% of cisgender people. Nearly 30% of trans women reported serving in the military, while nine percent of all trans veterans surveyed said they were discharged for reasons relating to their gender identity.

"Despite the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' this study highlights the ongoing discrimination faced by transgender people who serve in the military," said lead researcher Jody L. Herman in a statement. 

While the 2011 repeal of DADT removed the congressional block to open service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, it had no impact on the service of transgender Americans, who are prohibited from serving openly by a set of military regulations that declare any condition or treatment relating to gender dysphoria a disqualifying mental illness.

The study also revealed that trans and gender non-conforming veterans were more likely than their cisgender peers to have lost a job, due to anti-transgender bias, with 36% reporting they were fired because of their gender identity, and 53% reporting they were not hired by a prospective employer because of their trans status. 

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and over a six-month period in 2008, interviewed almost 6,500 trans and gender non-conforming people in the United States — the largest study to date featuring people who identify as a gender different than that which they were assigned at birth.

Read the full report here