Vanessa Fabbre: Trump’s Transgender Military Ban is ‘Unfounded’

Faculty; Policy

A ban on transgender people serving in the United States military is an attempt to make policy with no logical foundation in evidence or expertise on the matter, says an expert on transgender aging at Washington University in St. Louis.

President Donald Trump announced July 26 that the United States military will no longer allow or accept transgender people.

“We have a strong body of research showing that transgender Americans have long been serving in the military and that many see military service as an important civic opportunity,” said Vanessa Fabbre, assistant professor at the Brown School who studies transgender aging and the life course.

“In fact, for many transgender people, this is an important part of their identities,” Fabbre said. “Recent research also suggests that, for many transgender older adults, having served in the military may actually lead to high quality of life as they age.”

Fabbre’s studies showed first-hand a positive response to military service by transgender people.

“I have found in my own research that when older transgender veterans reflect on their lives, they often express a deep sense of pride at having served their country in this way,” she said.

“A policy that ignores this evidence and the voices of those who have served, are serving, and want to serve in the military is discriminatory and unfounded.”