Transgender Discrimination in the Military: The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Kerrigan, Matthew  F. 2011. "Transgender Discrimination in the Military: The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 18 (3): 500-18.

Author: Matthew F. Kerrigan


With the recent repeal of the “Don't Ask Don't Tell” (DADT) policy, gay rights groups celebrated a new victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. However, most people do not realize that DADT did not apply to transgender persons. Transgender persons are banned from serving by various regulations within each division of the armed forces and a Department of Defense directive imposing certain psychological and medical restrictions. The restrictions are automatic and do not leave room for case-by-case evaluation of readiness to serve. This paper first examines a study conducted by the Palm Center of the University of California, Santa Barbara, which provides new insight into the plight of transgender service members and veterans. It then discusses the broad-reaching impact of certain military regulations that threaten not only transgender rights, but the rights of all LGBT persons in the military. It then examines the limited case law pertaining to transgender rights and discrimination in the military. Finally, this paper argues that if regulations targeting transgender persons are not reexamined, the repeal of DADT might not truly protect all lesbian, gay and bisexual persons, as the existing regulations leave room for arbitrary discrimination. (PsycINFO)

Keywords: LGBTQ rights, discrimination, Transgender

Topics: Combatants, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rights, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2011

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