The San Francisco-based has announced grants totaling some $1.35 million from the and for a multiyear initiative to study transgender service in the U.S. military.
The grants — $1.35 million over three years from Tawani and $60,000 from Wells Fargo — will support the Transgender Military Initiative — eleven research projects aimed at exploring whether and how the armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining military readiness. The projects include a study of transgender service in foreign militaries, analyses of transgender inclusion in police and fire departments, a review of relevant policies adopted by prisons and athletic organizations, and assessments of whether and how military doctors could better accommodate the medical needs of transgender troops.
While the U.S. military lacks a clear and coherent policy regarding service by transgender individuals, under existing regulations most transgender troops are required to conceal their gender identity from their commanding officers. But unlike the "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy on gays serving in the military that was repealed in 2011, regulations governing transgender service have not been enacted by statute and thus can be modified by executive action. Founded in 1998 as the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, the Palm Center coordinated studies from 1998 to 2012 on the impact of DADT on military effectiveness.
"This academic research will inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces," said Indra Lusero, project director of what promises to be the largest and most comprehensive academic research project ever conducted on transgender military service. "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."