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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - In response to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's comments today in Kandahar, Afghanistan on whether transgender personnel can serve effectively in austere environments, Palm Center director Aaron Belkin issued the following statement:

"In response to a question today about whether transgender troops can serve in austere environments, Secretary Carter asked, ‘are they going to be excellent service members?' The answer to this question, based on the experiences of the estimated 15,500 transgender troops who are already serving, as well as academic research, is an unqualified yes.

A recent Palm Center study by a former US Surgeon General and retired General and Flag Officers addressed the issue of deployment in austere conditions explicitly and concluded that ‘there is no compelling rationale for banning transgender military service' and that ‘With few exceptions, transgender service members are deployable and medically ready.'

Another recent Palm Center study by a former U.S. Army Surgeon General and retired General Officers concluded that, ‘formulating and implementing inclusive policy [for transgender personnel] is administratively feasible and neither excessively complex nor burdensome.'"​

U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James Voiced Support for Lifting Ban in a USA Today Story.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 10, 2014 - Earlier today, U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told USA Today the transgender ban currently in place in the U.S. Military should be lifted. James further stated, "From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve."

Palm Center director Aaron Belkin offered the following statement:

"I am encouraged by Air Force Secretary James's announcement today that the Pentagon's ban on military service by transgender personnel will be reviewed soon, and by her statement that, ‘anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.''"

"Scholarly research as well as the experiences of 18 foreign militaries that welcome the service of transgender personnel show that an inclusive policy will strengthen our military."

"Air Force Secretary James's comments today are a positive step, but President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and is ultimately responsible for setting policy, and it is imperative for him to clarify his position as well."

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - November 26, 2014 -Three retired General and Flag Officers, including Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Major General Vance Coleman, and Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett issued a joint statement today to accompany a new report showing that the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marines have failed to comply with new Defense Department (DOD) rules on transgender personnel.

The retired General and Flag Officers are joined by seven LGBT leaders and experts who signed the statement, including Kristin Beck (Military Freedom Coalition), Kylar Broadus (National LGBTQ Task Force), James Esseks (American Civil Liberties Union), Diane Mazur (Palm Center), Shannon Minter (National Center for Lesbian Rights), Harper Jean Tobin (National Center for Transgender Equality) and Dayna Walker (Transgender American Veterans Association).

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