Openly Transgender soldier speaks to Vocativ magazine

Jake Eleazer, an Army drill instructor, spoke to Vocativ online magazine about being transgender in the military. Jake has been an exemplary servicemember for the past 8 years but since coming out his military career is uncertain as the administrative separation process has begun. 

 "...the decision about Eleazer’s fate does not rest with his colleagues or commander. It is now up to a panel of field-grade officers who will soon call him to plead his case. He will appear before them wearing his best uniform, though he is unsure whether to wear a man’s or woman’s. Eleazer’s lawyer will present evidence and call witnesses to prove only one point: that he is not mentally ill. There's little chance that the panel will allow him to continue serving. Instead, he'll likely be discharged, whihc posed yet another obstacle: anything less than an "honorable" distinction will impede the rest of Eleazer's career. Without such a grad, it would be all but impossible to obtain a federal or state job, which is part of his plans for the future."

The Palm Center recently released a comissioned study which concluded that there was no medical reason to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military. 

"For decades, transgender men and women have been barred from serving in the military. The rule is rooted in an archaic theory that equated being transgender with having a mental disorder. Four years after Congress repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” activists have been agitating for change, and point to other nations, like Israel and England, which allow transgender military personnel. Last week an independent commission led by a former U.S. Surgeon General, released a study confirming what psychiatric doctors have known for years: “There is no compelling medical reason for the ban,” as the report states, and that it has no legitimate basis. The commission called on President Obama to overturn it immediately."

Just like Don't Ask Don't Tell, the transgender ban in the military is an archaic policy that implies that being trans is a mental illness that impeded on a soldiers ability to serve. Time and time again it has been proven that transgender people are not ill or incapable of engaging in careers or life choices like that of every other person. GLAAD strongly urges the media to continue to highlight and examine the excuses used to exclude transgender people from miltary service until such policies are eliminated. 

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