Today, HRC lambasted an anti-transgender amendment being offered by Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO). A House floor vote is expected tomorrow on the amendment to the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ban critical access to transition-related health care for military service members and their families.
“Rep. Hartzler’s attack on active duty troops and their families is unconscionable,” said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran. “The proposal would bar access to medically necessary health care for military families and transgender service members who put their lives on the line for this country. It puts their health at risk and undermines military readiness by stripping away the ability of medical professionals to ensure their patients have the care they need and deserve. It is imperative that the House of Representatives reject this harmful amendment.”
Just two weeks ago, Rep. Hartzler failed in an attempt to ban transgender service members from the military during the NDAA markup before the House Armed Services Committee. These transgender service members have been serving openly and proudly for more than a year. Rep. Hartzler’s new amendment — which prohibits the Department of Defense from providing medical treatment for transition-related services — was given the green light by House Republican leadership late Wednesday. Following official ratification of the leadership’s decision by the House Rules Committee later tonight, the amendment will head to the House floor.
In order to propagate her attacks, Rep. Hartzler has used completely unsubstantiated figures to drastically inflate health care costs for transgender people. A RAND corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon found cost increases for providing such medically necessary care are minimal.
According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military. Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. 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. This had negative implications for our nation’s military readiness. A service member who is able to be open and honest about their gender identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission.