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Are Men In the Military More Likely To Be Transgender?

U.S. Army soldiers
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Above: U.S. Army soldiers

A soon-to-be published study claims men who served in the military were twice as likely to consider themselves transgender as men who were not veterans. Air Force veteran and psychologist George Brown told Courthouse News Service his study looked at more than 5 million veterans as subjects.

A paper Brown wrote in 1988, "Transsexuals in the Military: Flight Into Hypermasculinity," found that that biological men who identified themselves as inwardly female were drawn to the military as a way of suppressing their gender dysphoria:

"A striking similarity was noted in the histories of nearly all of the military gender dysphorics... They joined the service, in their words, 'to become a real man.'"

Brown said he will present his latest study on transgenderism in the military this fall, but wasn't heavy on the details.

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez wouldn't comment on the study, but instead reiterated in an email to Courthouse News Service the military's official policy on transgender people:

"DoD regulations don't allow transgender individuals to serve in the military, based upon medical standards for military service."

Interestingly enough, countries like Israel, Thailand, Spain, and Canada don't ban transgender folks from joining their militaries.

What do you think? Should transgender individuals be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military? Have your say in our comments section!

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Avatar for user 'erl'

erl | July 25, 2012 at 3:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Just a quiet note on this... I have provided service to 5 Presidents, foreign dignitaries (Gorbachev among them), consulted to governments and fortune 100 corporations and then some, Homeland Security, various Law Enforcement, and, ... Well, you get the picture. And YES, I am a Veteran and Transsexual as are most of those I know who are Transgender.

Side Note here: The bigoted and bias mistreatment, denial of equal rights, and abuse never end. I was stealth in the US ARMY and after, changing my status to a legal and anatomical female. However, I still have to live a life of stealth inside of the woodwork. Mr. Brown is correct, and has touched on the reason why there are so many suicides within the services today.

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Avatar for user 'gichristian'

gichristian | July 26, 2012 at 5:29 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

The article seems to start off stating that men in the military were twice as likely to be identified (almost as if giving service itself were the cause) but then settles into the more logical reason of joining a hypermasculine world to deal with gender dysphoria.

Further, I would not suggest to say that the rising suicide rate is a result of massive amounts of troops struggling with their sexual identity; I would state from my own experiences that it is caused by repeated deployments, combat stress, disasterous home lives and returning to a country that seems to be going in a direction that most serving do not agree with.

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Avatar for user 'SilverGladstar'

SilverGladstar | July 26, 2012 at 2:37 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

I found this article very interesting. I am a transgender veteran. I served in Viet Nam and I would not have gone there if I had had a choice as I did not agree with the war. Although I was drafted I was quite willing to serve, but it was NOT to try and become a "real man". I knew one other trans person in the military and she would not have served at all had she been given a choice. I think she had a breakdown and was given a medical discharge. We did not know that transgender people were not allowed.

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Avatar for user 'laura_catherine'

laura_catherine | August 2, 2013 at 2:38 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

I am a retired AF Major and transitioned from make to female after retirement. I was serving right along with gay, lesbian and straight members for my whole career. The only difference was that the straight members didn't have to hide it. We have served, are serving and will continue to serve honorably and with distinction. How can it possibly serve the interest of our nation to make us keep such a burdensome secret. Look at what we have accomplished in spite of our dysphoria. Just imagine what we could do if we could just be ourselves.

Laura Catherine Perry, Maj, USAF (Ret)

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