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Kinsey Institute To Study Transgender Issues In The Military

military members

Photo: Bob Nichols (flickr)

The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard Military District of Washington, D.C., presented the Colors at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Observance, “The Sum of Us: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pioneers” at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 7, 2012.

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University is launching a two-year study on the medical care of transgender individuals in the military.

The complications surrounding the issue has been brought to light most recently when the private first class known formerly as Bradley Manning said in a statement last Thursday she wants to be known as Chelsea.

Brandon Hill, the principal researcher for the Kinsey Institute’s study, says the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell does not apply to transgender individuals, and if they begin their transition while on active duty, they can be discharged.

Hill says his study, which is being funded by a grant from the Palm Center a group that supports the study of LGBT people in the military, will look at the physical, psychological and emotional effects that has on transgender soldiers.

“In particular I saw the inability to openly identify as potentially creating more distress for our servicemen and women who are transgender,” he says.

Hill says there’s a disconnect because transgender service members can receive care when they retire because Veterans Affairs covers the cost of hormone therapy and counseling. He hopes additional research will provide military officials support for any needed policy changes.

The study will begin next month.

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