nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Advocacy groups welcome defeat of NDAA anti-transgender amendment

15 July 2017, 12:32 | Shelley Chandler

US Rep. Joe Kennedy III slams proposed defense spending bill amendment as 'anti-transgender'

GOP Lawmaker Wants to Eliminate Healthcare Funding for Trans Members of Armed Forces

Hartzler previously offered - and withdrew - an amendment to outright ban transgender service members from openly serving. "You're joining the USA military", he said.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on an amendment that would block transgender service members from transition-related medical care, a move that could affect thousands of soldiers.

Once the amendment comes to the floor, it will be the first time in history the US history has considered a measure specifically aimed at rolling back rights for transgender people.

"There are many problems, but funding transition surgeries with tax dollars is problematic because the surgery is very costly", Hartzler said.

Though they make up a relatively small percentage of the population, transgender people are twice as likely as other Americans to serve in the military.

Carter put in place a process to occur in stages, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was facing a July 1 deadline on whether to allow new recruits who were transgender. While Hartzler argued that there is still a "lack of medical consensus on the effectiveness of gender transition treatments", organizations such as the American Medical Association have in the last decade released statements saying that research supports the effectiveness and "medical necessity" of treatments such as surgery for individuals with gender dysphoria.

The ACLU has sent letters to House members urging them to vote against the Hartzler Amendment.

Despite Secretary Mattis' statements, there is reason to believe that the military may revert back to its transgender ban: on June 28, 2017 Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler sponsored an amendment to the House's defense authorization bill that would have prevented transgender people from serving.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called the amendment "appalling" and "mean spirited".

Rep. Hartzler stated that she was pleased with the decision to delay the enlistment policy, and will continue to press for a full reversal of the Defense Department's transgender policy.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the Armed Services Committee's top Democrat said, "This amendment takes us in the wrong direction ..." Transgender service members have risked their lives around the world, and the previous transgender military ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed.

"It's a hurtful amendment, it's not needed", said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, a noted advocate for LGBT rights who has a transgender son.

An estimated 6,630 transgender people are actively serving in the military according to a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon.

"By my figures, we are projected to pay $3.7 billion over the next ten years for sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for those in the military that wish to transition from one sex to another", Perry said. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also predicted it would pass, suggesting the need to work closely with the Defense Department on its implementation.

Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the LGBT lobby group Human Rights Campaign, reported, "If only three Members of Congress had voted yes instead [i.e., FOR the measure denying taxpayer funding to the Pentagon for transsexual "sex reassignment surgeries"], this unsafe and discriminatory anti-transgender amendment would have passed".

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