GLAAD fact checks inaccurate claims surrounding president Trump's transgender military ban

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today recognized International Fact-Checking Day by fact-checking some of the most common inaccuracies surrounding coverage of President Trump’s transgender military ban, which is opposed by the majority of Americans.

Just over a week ago on March 23rd, the Trump Administration doubled-down and issued a new implementation policy in an attempt to move forward with the transgender military banafter four federal courts and two appeals courts declared it likely to be unconstitutional and blocked the original language from going into effect while the courts have time to hear and rule on the cases. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the misinformation surrounding the Trump Administration’s March 23rd implementation policy:

FALSE CLAIM: The Trump Administration walked backed President Trump’s plan to ban all transgender service members from openly serving in any capacity within the United States armed forces with the implementation policy made public on March 23rd, 2018.

FACT: The March 23rd implementation policy has the same intent and ramifications as before by stating that transgender people are required to serve in accordance to the gender they were assigned at birth and can only enlist if they have not taken any step to transition. In other words, you cannot be openly transgender and serve in the U.S. Military. 

Prior to the transgender-inclusive policy the Trump Administration is seeking to undo, transgender Americans did both desire to serve and served in silence within the U.S. military, however, they were not allowed to enter or remain in service if they wished to live their lives true to their gender identities. This is exactly what this policy will reinstate. The March 23rdimplementation policy is the same ban that announced in via Twitter on July 26, 2017.

FALSE CLAIM: The March 23rd implementation policy is somehow more forgiving to currently enlisted transgender service members because there is an exception in place for those already in the military.

FACT: There is a small exception for transgender people in the military if they are out and diagnosed with gender dysphoria, two things that are otherwise labeled as disqualifying factors in the implementation policy. However, what punishment or discrimination they will face for being transgender remains unknown.

This implementation policy is built on the assumption that their mere existence is somehow a threat to military readiness and unit cohesion. Regardless of the fact that these assumptions are not backed up by evidence, they can be used to deny service members who qualify for this small exemption from promotions and deployment or lead to discharge under other pretenses. In addition, as noted by the New York Times, the implementation policy is unclear as to if those who fit this criteria would be required to serve in accordance to the gender they were assigned at birth in order to remain in the military.

Further, if the policy goes into effect, any service member who comes out or seeks medically necessary transgender healthcare after it goes into place would not fall under this exception. This is by no means any less discriminatory and should be seen as the same direct attack on highly skilled and qualified U.S. military personnel who just happen to be transgender. 

FALSE CLAIM: There is legitimate and justified concern that open transgender military service would affect military readiness and cohesion.

FACT: The American Medical Association has directly stated that "there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the US military,” and the American Psychological Association issued a statement in response to the implementation policy which said there is “no scientific evidence has shown that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has an adverse impact on readiness or unit cohesion.”

It is vital not to legitimize “research” from partisan anti-LGBTQ groups like Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation that has been fully debunked by thorough and bipartisan studies on open transgender service such as those by the New England Journal of Medicine and RAND Corporation and the medical expertise major medical organizations including the American Medical AssociationAmerican Psychological Association, and  American Psychiatric Association, among others.