New Study on Transgender Military Service Receives $1.35 Million Grant
Image via Outserve Magazine
The Palm Center, most recently known for a decade of research on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, received a $1.35 million grant Tuesday, to study transgender service in the United States military for the next thee years, reports Buzzfeed.
According to palmcenter.org, “the initiative is the largest and most comprehensive academic research project ever conducted on transgender military service.” Project Director Indra Lusero enlisted “16 scholars to conduct 11 studies on whether and how the U.S. armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness.”
In a Palm Center press release, Lusero stated, “This academic research will inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces.” Lusero went on to add, “Militaries around the world are updating their policies, and we are already conducting research in Canada, Britain and Australia to learn whether their trans-inclusive regulations have impacted readiness.”
Currently Britain, Israel, Australia and Canada’s laws authorize transgender people to serve in their militaries. The U.S. does not have any policies that specifically apply to transgender people. However, “transgender service members [can be] discharged if their gender identity is found out”, stated Buzzfeed. Contrary to “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the military transgender policies are not signed into law and “could be changed by the leadership at the Pentagon of President Barack Obama”, Buzzfeed reported.
The Tawani Foundation and Wells Fargo provided funding for the study, and “new research will include…assessments of whether and how military doctors could better accommodate medical needs of transgender troops and how military policies concerning appearance, hair and dress could be amended”, according to a Palm Center press release.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Nathanial Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America and previous academic with the Palm Center expressed his excitement for the study. “I’m a big believer in ongoing research, and this is a crucial first step in that effort,” said Frank. “I think it shouldn’t take as long as [the] ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ [repeal], but I do think that research piece of the puzzle does need to be put into place.”
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.
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