By Brianna Rodriguez
The Trump administration aims to discontinue former President Barack Obama’s policies on transgender troops serving in the military. Student veterans at USF St. Petersburg say that transgender service members should be allowed to serve, but not during transitionary process.
They say hormone medication and rehabilitation time during active duty can affect their job performance.
“In order for a person to have the quality of life that they deserve, the military would not be able to provide it,” said Courtney Smith, a biology senior and Air Force veteran. “While you are going through those transitions, you’re going to be going in hostile situations. If you are having these mood swings, it could be the worst thing in the world. If you are armed, or even not armed.”
On Oct. 30, the Federal District Court Judge in the District of Columbia, Colleen Koller-Kotelly, blocked the ban by President Donald Trump on transgender troops, suspecting it to be unconstitutional.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all,” Koller-Kotelly told the New York Times.
The 2016 policy change to allow transgender troops into the military was created by Obama. This change planned to include more transgender personnel into the military.
“Otherwise qualified service members can no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service solely for being transgender individuals,” according to the 2016 Memorandum released by the Department of Defense.
The policy change in 2016 also allowed transgender troops to acquire medical treatments to aid with the transition.
“The active transitioning while you are active duty is a no go. It makes a person non-deployable and non-combat effective up to a year and a half … I do not think that it is something that the active duty military force should worry about,” said Joe Pack, a history and peer counselor at the university’s Veterans Success Center.
Pack said that he thinks transgender service members are capable of providing excellent military service, but they shouldn’t go through transition during active duty.
A study was done by Richard Wassersug on the psychological effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), also known as hormone therapy for male to female transition, highlighted the adverse effects of hormone therapy.
The study showed that risk of depression increases due to decrease in testosterone. Cognition functions such as perception and logical reasoning were also affected by ADT.
The recent memorandum released in August by President Trump aimed to change the 2016 policies to revert back to the policies previously in place.
Orders were placed until March 2018 to follow an interim guidance which allows transgender troops to follow previous policies. By that time, it is planned that there will be new policies in place.
Header photo Courtesy of the U.S. Navy