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tv   House Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Transgender Military Service  CSPAN  March 21, 2019 8:53pm-11:32pm EDT

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to them. c-span opened the door to washington policymaking, bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true people power. in the 40 years sense, the landscape has clearly changed. there is no monolithic media. youtube stars are thing. c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c-span. it's nonpartisan coverage is funded as a public service by your cable or satellite provider , on television or online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government. you can make up your own mind. >> transgender service members testified about their experiences in the military and the trump administration's ban on trends gender military service. the house will vote next week on a measure rejecting the
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president's then. jackie speier is the chair of the armed services subcommittee on military personnel. >> good afternoon, welcome everyone to the military personnel subcommittee of the armed services committee. the active-duty transgender service members were with us today, being here in the same room as senior defense department officials in front of the congress representing your selves and fellow transgender service members. even in your civilian capacity, this takes tremendous courage. testifying in front of congress is not close to the most courageous thing you have done. from a young age you made a series of difficult choices in order to live in a way that
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honors yourself, your community and country. despite living in the nation for many discriminate against you, you made a choice that fewer and fewer americans make. you joined the military and risk your lives and families well being our safety. how has the administration thank ed you? by treating you like a liability. not an asset. by maliciously jeopardizing your careers and trivializing your sacrifice. 14700 transgender individuals continue to serve ably. they are exceptional but also exceptionally normal. like their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines they proudly serve the constitution, our nation and commander in chief. our 5 witnesses today have shown uncommon bravery, making choices throughout their lives.
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today lieutenant commander, captain and staff sergeant king have made the greatest choice to -- the courageous choice to come advocate for themselves and their peers. i cannot tell you how much i appreciate your courage, your sacrifices, and your presence today. your examples inspire all of us. i feel strongly any transgender person who can meet occupational standards should be allowed to serve in our armed forces. i believe transgender service ban is discriminatory, unconstitutional and self defeating. open transgender service the last two and half years has been an unequivocal success.
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when asked by congress, the five service chiefs indicated that open service has not caused unit readiness or cohesion problems. let me repeat that. when the chiefs were asked this question, they made it clear that unit readiness and cohesion were not impacted by the service of transgender servicemembers. instead, this charging trance -- discharging transgender members would hamper unit readiness, robbing formations of needed personnel and leaders without warning. not allowing transgender servicemembers to join the military would cost us recruits at a time so few americans are willing to serve. telling transgender servicemembers they can serve but not fully express their identities would represent a
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returned to the paranoia of don't ask, don't tell. transgender troops have a right to serve as their full selves and should not have to live in fear of being found out. our 5 witnesses and their peers deserve better than to have bias, misconception and ignorance and or limit their careers. let me tell you a little more about the 5 witnesses joining us today. they are subject matter experts who have lived open transgender service and best understand how it affects our unit readiness and cohesion. lieutenant commander blake, i think we will see a photograph. there she is.
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there he is. lieutenant commander blake has served in the navy for over 15 years. since joining in 2003, he has been recognized for his exemplary service as the recipient of the uss maine logistics excellence award and the 2015 vice admiral robert paul calder award. thank you. captain olivia selleck, picture in uniform. has been serving in the army for over ten years since commissioning out of west point as a second lieutenant in 2008. she serves as an infantry officer and completed the ranger course and captain selleck deployed to afghanistan with the striker brigade combat team and personal awards include the bronze star medal and the a meritorious service medal. thank you.
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captain jennifer peace. she has served for over 15 years since first enlisting in the army in 2003 and commissioning and commissioning as an officer in 2009. she has excelled as an intelligence officer. peace's awards include -- thetoring us meritorious service medal and the joint commendation medal.
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king,sergeant patricia combat tested infantry soldier, who has served 19 years in the united state army. she was deployed to afghanistan three times. her awards include a combat infantry badge and the bronze star. thank you. thank you all for your contributions to our nation and to our military. you were the first five transgender service members ever to testify openly in front of the house of representatives. the very first five. and how fitting that you do it not as individuals, but as a team. how just that you cannot last represent yourselves and your peers in front of this body. my colleagues and i need to hear from you, understand your
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stories, and appreciate what you've done. we have the opportunity to pass legislation that would allow transgender service members to serve openly. congress cannot let the administration's discriminatory impulses win out. before we make that decision, we need to meet you face-to-face, to affirm that service by openly transgender troops is normal, it is necessary, and it is just. today is an opportunity for all of us in the department to learn about why you serve and what you've accomplished. this is time to learn and not to pedal misconceptions, bad science, and bias. let's dispel the phony myths. there is simply no rigorous evidence that transgender service members hamper unit
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cohesion or readiness. a consensus of top medical and psychological bodies including the american medical association have concluded that gender dysphoria does not pose a barrier to service. transgender service members are deployable and effective. their sense of duty, patriotism, and courage is no different from the other service members they stand shoulder to shoulder with. those are the facts. our witnesses will illustrate them with their stories and their expertise. also joining us is dr. jesse ehrenfeld, the distinguished leadership professor. that is a mouthful. at the vanderbilt university school of medicine. he was elected to the american medical association board of trustees in 2014. he is a combat veteran who was deployed to afghanistan. dr. ehrenfeld has worked for
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years to support the lgbtq people. before hearing from our first panel, let me offer our ranking member an opportunity to make his opening remarks. >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank the three witnesses who met with me and told me your stories in person. i want to thank you for doing that and i want to thank all of you from being on this panel today. i wish to welcome both of our panels. the committee has tirelessly focused on rebuilding the readiness of our armed forces. an integral part of rebuilding and maintaining readiness is recruiting and retaining qualified and able-bodied service members. to me, personnel is the key. equipment can always be replaced, but personnel is the
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key cornerstone in all military operations. one of our strengths is that we draw from a diverse group of individuals. as the former secretary of defense made clear, it is a bedrock principle of the department of defense that any eligible individual who can meet the high standards for military service without special accommodations should be permitted to serve. in other words, the focus should remain on individuals capabilities rather than establishing blanket policies for certain groups. in reading through the written statements of our first panel of currently serving transgender service members, it is clear that you have all earned the respect and support of your much,d, you've achieved and you continue to serve honorably. one common thing throughout all of your statements is that you all meant, meet, or exceed the standards for a session and
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retention in the military, and you did not ask for, nor would you have wanted reduced standards or special treatment. the transgender service policy must include all individualized assessment of recruits' medical and behavioral health to determine whether they are fit for service. it is when we put in place categorical exceptions for certain groups that we undermine our military's readiness. i look forward to hearing from our first panel. through your written statements, you indicated you generally have supportive leaders. i look forward to hearing your recommendations for how the services can improve their support. i'm also interested to hear about the differences between the current transgender service policy and the policy established by former secretary of defense mattis. it seems to me that it eliminates categorical distinctions between different
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groups of people in favor of individual assessment based on standards applicable to all. i look forward to hearing the current status of that policy. it is an unfortunate reality that not every person who desires to serve in our military meets the standards needed to maintain a ready and resilient force. however it only makes sense that any individual who can meet these standards be allowed to serve. ands all about readiness deploy ability. i look forward to hearing from both of our panels and i yield back. rep. speier: thank you, mr. kelly. i ask unanimous consent to allow members not on the subcommittee to participate in today's afterg and ask questions all subcommittee members have been recognized. without objection, so ordered. each witness will have the opportunity to present his or
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her testimony and each member will have an opportunity to question the witnesses. we respectfully ask the witnesses to summarize their testimony in five minutes or less. your written comments and statements will be made part of the record. let us begin with commander draymond. you have your opening statement. >> madam chairwoman, ranking member kelly, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about our experiences contributing to the readiness of our armed forces. i am currently assigned as a supply chain manager. i have served in the navy for 13 years and i have deployed 11 times, including five patrols, one year in afghanistan with the 101st airborne, and five strategic controls on board uss maine.
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i've been told three times that something other than my capability to do the job was the reason i wasn't worthy of an opportunity, first for my gender assigned at birth, second for my sexual orientation prior to transition, and third for my gender identity. in 2010, the navy changed the policy preventing women from serving on submarines. in 2011, congress repealed don't ask don't tell. this opened the opportunity for me to be selected as one of the first women to integrate submarines and for the first time i did not have to hide my sexual orientation. each time a mission or capability irrelevant barrier was removed, i rose to the occasion. i succeeded as a submariner and was ranked the top supply officer of a 14 in this quadrant. , there all of my success was still something that needed to change.
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2013,n my transition in two weeks prior to my fourth patrol and before policy had changed for transgender service members. the next year, i was a more confident officer, a better leader, and a better shipmate. it culminated in my ship being named the top in this quadrant and in 2015i won the award given to the top five junior officers for their contributions to the operational readiness of the fleet. recently i've served on the joint staff at the pentagon and now i'm at joint logistics command. i've continually exceeded expectations and met all the requirements to be fully deployable. afforded me the opportunity to not only be who i am, but also act as educator and advocate on behalf of my service members. in my personal capacity as president of sparta, a nonprofit
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that advocates on behalf of over 800 service who happen to be transgender, it is my responsibility to know and understand the policies of all five armed services. my team and i have coordinated with policy experts and commanders from each service when there are delays or issues. we've worked to eliminate any confusion in the transgender policy, providing practical implementation and emphasizing that good leadership is the key to success. it was the same with women on submarines. it was the same with don't ask don't tell. good leaders can take a team and make it work. great leaders mold their teams to exceed expectations because it doesn't matter if you are female or lgbt. what matters is that each member is capable and focused on the mission. has time the military
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incorporated a minority group, it was met with the same resistance, citing fears about mission accomplishment, unit cohesion, and morale. it was forecast that sexual harassment or privacy issues would be rampant. for me, whether it was because of my sex at birth, my sexual orientation, or my gender identity, each accusation has been found without merit. we busted myths that women can't be submariners, that gays and lesbians will be a detriment to cohesion, and that trans servicemembers are incapable of service. readiness and lethality cannot be maintained by closing doors to the best and brightest our country has to offer. some of the best and brightest we have to offer happen to be transgender. rep. speier: thank you very much. captain stalock. ms. stehlik: good afternoon.
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my name is captain alivia stehlik. ever since i was a kid i wanted to be in the army. in 2004, i went to west point. i graduated from the united states infantry academy. i spent nearly six years as an infantry officer as a platoon leader and staff officer. a passioned i had for the army and for taking care of soldiers. i decided to become an army physical therapist because i believe that soldiers deserve medical providers who have walked in their shoes. i have. i've led the long marches. i've spent the long nights in the field. i've endured training. 10e also earned my reader and my expert infantry badge. i've lived a soldier's life. i graduated from the army's
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physical therapy program in 2016 and was assigned to the hospital at fort carson in colorado. a year later i heard the brigade would be deploying to afghanistan and their current physical therapist wouldn't be able to go. we had a short discussion and switched places so that i could go to afghanistan with the unit. the unit otherwise wouldn't have had a physical therapist. despite my desire to return to an infantry unit, i had concerns. i had excelled as an infantry officer, but i never quite fit in. 2016, i took steps to change that and began my transition. given that my profession now is one in which i touch every concernedeet, i was that my transition might be a problem, that i might be less effective if people were uncomfortable. this really brings me to the
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crux of today's hearing. what is the value of having transgender people in the military? based on my experience as a combat officer and a medical provider, the answer is that my transition as well as those of so many others has dramatically increased the readiness and lethality of every branch of the armed forces. i was stable throughout my transition and my work performance improved. within my first two months of having a full caseload, i was exceeding productivity standards. i had only been out and on hormone replacement therapy for six months when i attended my captain's career course. i passed the pt test on male standards, graduated eight out of 107, and was asked to come back and teach as a guest instructor. more recently, i served as a physical therapist in afghanistan, where i treated
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over 1700 patients. my care resulted in a less than 1% medical evacuation right. it is clear that my presence in afghanistan dramatically improved the readiness of my unit. i'm proud that my soldiers trusted me and knew that i would go out of my way to take care of them. soldiers matter to me and they are the ones who will suffer if medical providers and leaders like me are banned from service. has my transition made soldiers uncomfortable? on the contrary, during my recent deployment, soldiers opened up. they talked to me and told me things they never would have before. i asked them why and the consistent answer was that they valued my authenticity, my courage and being myself. it allowed them to do the same thing. you can imagine how valuable that is, both as a consultant to
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the commander and as a medical provider. i got the truth on what was going on in their personal lives and medical conditions as well as the whole unit and was able to relay those things to the commander. while i was concerned that my presence might feel invasive to other women, they welcomed me into their lives and into their living spaces with open arms. i was family. i returned to the united states just over a month ago. my experience has only confirmed what i already knew, that i am a more effective soldier, officer, and physical therapist having gone through transition. i belong in a combat arms unit. i worked tirelessly to ensure nothing could jeopardize that and i continue to do so. i amght be tempting to say the exception, but that is not true. transgender servicemembers around the world have done the same thing.
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transgender people should be allowed to join the military. people who are in the military should be allowed to take health care for whatever issues they might have. those of us who are serving openly should be allowed every professional opportunity that every other soldier is. thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. rep. speier: thank you. captain peace. >> chairwoman, ranking member, members of the committee, thank you for your time. my name is captain jennifer peace. i'm a military intelligence officer, currently assigned as executive officer for the iranian division. i've been in the military for 15 years, five of those as an enlisted service member and almost 10 years as a commissioned officer. officernoncommissioned
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in 2008 i was a distinguished honor graduate for the military intelligence captain's career course. i had a number of accolades throughout my career, but as captain stalock said, i don't consider myself to be an exception, but rather a prime example of what any other transgender servicemember could do. my most recent assignment was as a company commander with deployment of baghdad, iraq, afghanistan, malaysia, japan, south korea, and other locations. when i took command of the headquarters company, my brigade commander was asked, is this a social experiment, making a transgender person company commander? my brigade commander very clearly stated, i do not experiment with command positions. they are too important. i served as a company commander for 18 months, leading soldiers
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across the united states to train national guard and reserve units preparing to deploy overseas. i went to the field with my unit. we were out for extended times in the field, in the deserts of california, and in the forests of wisconsin. there were never any issues that arose to being transgender. between the time of the initial announcement and the tweets by the commander-in-chief, the fact that i was transgender never came up. it wasn't something that needed to be discussed. it is only since this issue has risen again that it has been talked about in my unit. i can understand the issues of readiness and morale. what i can tell you is that no one cares about readiness more than a company commander. i will be the first person to
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kick out a transgender servicemember if they are not able to meet the standards, if they are unable to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemy. there should be no adjustment of standards, no different standards for trans people than anyone else in the military. all we are asking for is the opportunity to be held to those same standards. it is also important we disabuse ourselves of the fact that this policy only impacts those who would like to join the military, that it doesn't affect active duty service members. all those who are currently serving will be locked into their career where they can no longer advance. enlisted soldiers cannot become warrant officers. if you are required to leave service, you will not be allowed to rejoin. if there are any programs you , eventempting to get into for a period of minutes, in
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order to rejoin and reassess, you will no longer be allowed to. you also have to look at the fact that the commander-in-chief, the vice president, the secretary of defense, and the secretary of state have said that i'm not qualified to serve in the united states army. if i'm looking at evaluations for promotion, schooling opportunities, or to invest additional resources, am i going to do that knowing that the chain of command says this person shouldn't be in the military? if i know the president is making a concerted effort to kick this member out, am i going to invest my limited resources in allowing the soldier to continue to serve? or am i going to let their careers languish as i focus on those i know will be around tomorrow? i think it is also important to look at how this is going to
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affect the broader population. there is a hero culture in the military. all of us get thanked for our service and called heroes almost every day. officers and noncommissioned raideds are regularly some of the most respected professions in the united states. can't beer people awarded service medals. they can't deploy around the world. they are told they are not good enough to serve in the united states military. united states sees trans people as somehow less. it is unfortunate that we are not able to appear in uniform so that you could see us testify with our rank and accolades. it is unfortunate that we are in civilian clothes, testifying on our own while the department of defense is appearing in those uniforms.
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as executive officer of the iranian division, i look every day at the threat not only from iran, russia, north korea, isis, and other nonstate actors, and i know the army missed its recruiting goal by 11,000 soldiers last year alone. the marines, navy, and air force barely met their recruiting goals. thatot sure this is a time we should be limiting our talent pool to a significant portion of the population who serves at twice the rate as their counterparts. thank you for your time this afternoon and i look forward to your questions. rep. speier: thank you, captain. staff sergeant. member,woman, ranking members of the committee, thank you for being here today. my name is staff sergeant patricia king.
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i have served in the army for 15 years, deployed to afghanistan three times, the first time in 2001, while participating in operations and a conduct, harpoon, and glock. i've earned the combat infantry badge, a device that is highly esteemed in the army, for actions taken in the valley, and the bronze star during my third deployment for completing 12 months in deployment as a platoon sergeant with no incidents or loss of life. in that time, i lead or planned over 400 missions outside the wire. as the platoon sergeant for the south region. i began my gender transition in 2015 and came out to my leaders that march. i've served as a squad leader, platoon sergeant, and in operations nco. controlof 2016, i took
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of the strikers squad. arrived, there was no issue of me being transgender . the fact that i was a female was more notable. in 2016, i was one of only two women in the united states army infantry. my building, 50 years old and still having asbestos removed, had been built without women's restrooms, much to the chagrin of any spouse that might have visited a soldier. we quickly made signs that had a male on one side and a female on the other. only, the onus was on me to flip the sign when i needed to use the restroom. the female sign kind of represented my first few weeks there. wherever i went, i was the pink sign in the room. when i would come in, there would be a hush over the room.
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it didn't take long before my peers saw past my gender and the only thing that mattered was that i could do my job. i've been in the infantry for over 15 years. i was one of them. i just happen to be a girl. none of that mattered to the soldiers in my squad. most of them were 21 or younger. people in generation z aren't worried about trams very much. they grew up with trams people in their lives. prom generation has trans queens. name,e cox is a household much like we grew up with laverne & shirley. my squad quickly gave me than name squad mom. for us this was a term of endearment. there had never been a squad mom in the infantry before this. striker, onen old of the oldest in the army and one of the worst maintained in our battalion, and a hodgepodge
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squad of soldiers with different backgrounds from around the world, but we quickly became a team and i let them know that they were my soldiers and as my mother always says, i only work with stars. within a month we made our striker the best in the battalion. we lived in the motor pool. as i became the best in battalion, my squad became the best we ever worked together. there were no secrets. there was no false bravado. my authenticity inspired my soldiers along with strong leadership and hard work and solid training. cohesion in a way that i've never seen in my 19 years of service. that is the value of inclusion. that is the value of having open trans service. from austere conditions in the field to life in the barracks, i the witnessed firsthand
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troops want strong leaders who can inspire them. they don't care if the soldier's trans. they don't care if the leader is bi, white or black, male or female. the question is, can you do your job and accomplish your mission? can you put rounds on target? can you look out for your troops? if a soldier's leader can do those things, everything else really doesn't matter. thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspective. rep. speier: thank you, staff sergeant. now we are going to hear from akira wyatt. >> good afternoon, chairwoman, ranking member, members of the committee. my name is akira wyatt. i've served in the navy for eight years and i'm a carmen
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first-class currently stationed at usmc california. i grew up in the philippines and migrated to the u.s. at age 15. my father, a retired u.s. marine, and my mother, showed us that freedom prospers. in bringing us here, they gave us the greatest gift, a chance to achieve high goals and to contribute to society. marines have now become my extended family. for the entirety of my service, neither my sexuality nor my gender identity have left any disruption among my peers. there has been nothing but productivity. living our truth has made us all stronger, engaged, and more devoted. though i haven't yet been afforded that position, there was a moment in 2014 that rocked
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me. 2014, joseph scott pemberton committed a brutal murder when he discovered she was a transgender woman. docked time, my ship was , contributing to joint exercises with philippine forces. pemberton wasthat to be escorted to the ship while in custody. i had only heard the headline, marine kills transgender. i didn't think much of it. naive until i saw him face-to-face. , i looked workout into his eyes, and it shook me. i saw darkness. had no called and
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remorse for what he had done. i thought it could have been me. regardless, i had a mission, a mission. it doesn't matter who i am. i'm here to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and give them the medical care they need. my duty is what i will always do. ironically, after that encounter, i decided to transition regardless of the senseless violence that could be directed at me for who i am. i told myself i will transition and i won't be afraid even if i might face the same circumstances as jennifer did that night. even if it comes from the hands of my marines. i medically and socially transitioned in 2013. that year i was honored to be hand selected to provide high
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risk medical care. exercise, myd staff sergeant said, i've never met anyone has more balls than you, wyatt. i would deploy with you and i would trust you with my life. i had enormous support from my superiors and peers. i was described as a sailor who was mission oriented, focused, and an inspiring leader focused on team goals. my experience with my marines and comrades shows the unit cohesion and readiness are not adversely impacted by having a transgender servicemember included. bondsed incredibly tight with the people i work with and i would follow them to the ends of the earth so that they get the critical battlefield care
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they need to continue the fight. and lastly, semper fi. rep. speier: thank you. dr. ehrenfeld. i think i'm on. good afternoon, chairwoman and ranking member, members of the subcommittee. it is such an honor to be here to testify. my name is dr. jesse ehrenfeld. i am a physician testifying in my personal capacity. of theso the chair elect american medical association and director of the lgbtq health program. the military transgender policy disqualifies and discriminates against transgender people who are otherwise capable of serving. i have served and worked with transgender members both home and downrange.
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i have seen firsthand how incredibly courageous and capable these individuals are. i would like to state unequivocally that there is no medically valid reason including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria to exclude transgender individuals from military service. this was the position of most medical organizations, including the american medical association and american psychiatric association, all of whom disagree with the department of defense's rationale for a transgender man. there is a global medical consensus about the efficacy of transgender health care based on a wide body of medical research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care. because of the clear evidence that gender transition is effective in treating gender dysphoria and can improve the well-being of transgender individuals, most third-party
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payers including medicare provide coverage for these services. earlier byort noted several retired surgeons general rejected the department of defense rationale for exclusion, concluding that the report is contradicted by ample evidence clearly demonstrating the transition related care is effective, that transgender personnel are deployable, and medically fit. the department of defense report conclusion that transgender people are not fit to serve contradict the medical and scientific consensus. transgender individuals are fully capable of serving. there is nothing about being transgender that diminishes a person's ability to serve in the military. this because i have served in the military with transgender people. my own personal experience has been that our transgender service members are some of the
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most qualified individuals we have today. all five military service chiefs of staff testified last year that inclusive policy has caused no readiness issues. banning transgender troops harms readiness through forced dishonesty. in my opinion, the ban actually harms unit cohesion and effectiveness. who discriminates based on someone is rather than what they can do in their job. it will force transgender troops to be dishonest. , which is yours responsibility, should be based on science to ensure that the most effective and reliable force is out in the field. there is no medical reason, including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, to exclude transgender people from military service. thank you very much. rep. speier: thank you, doctor.
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thank you all for being here today and for sharing your stories with us. they are truly remarkable. i would like to start by asking each of you -- many of you have been deployed many times. can you tell us some of the highlights of your deployment? lt. cmdr. dremann: one of my highlights was my second patrol on the uss maine in qualifying at the second qualified female naval officer to qualify in submarines. moment is literal blood sweat and tears that i proudly wear on my chest every day. those are the highlights. backdroption is a regarding anything in my 11
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deployments, whether it is stripped to the philippines, hong kong, or just camaraderie in afghanistan. every friday night for about three hours and active cigarettes. those are the highlights of my deployment. rep. speier: captain stehlik. capt. stehlik: i was sitting at my desk one day and my clinic came over and said, we got a call from some guy in western afghanistan. i went to answer the phone and the first question i asked was, how do you know who i am? it was a ranger medic assigned to some special forces unit who had heard about me from a different special forces outpost that i had been invited to. he said, we heard great things and we want you to come take care of us. i was kind of floored. i came to this deployment wondering how my transition would affect my relationships with soldiers and command, and
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to have somebody who didn't know me and ostensibly new that i was trans because he found out about me from folks that i have worked with, found my phone number and , that was af me pretty remarkable thing to me. ,hile i didn't end up going there was another physical therapist going that way, it was pretty remarkable. working with soldiers was amazing. rep. speier: captain peace. capt. peace: my first deployment to iraq, i wasn't called upon to deploy. i had been stationed for a number of years and not deployed yet. i went to our operations and said, how can i get to iraq? the only position they had opened was for an instructor of the new intelligence system.
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i went to school. i learned the system and i deployed, working directly for the multinational forces and spent many nights briefing and updating slides for the general at the time to ensure that they knew how the application of the system was working out in the field. my second deployment, i was stationed in the argonaut river valley, just northwest of the city of kandahar. we had small pressure related mines. they had been modifying them with nails to get them to detonate. we had seen them appearing for weeks and we detained a few people. upelf and my soldiers stayed working on translating some documents, going through some of the evidence we had, and over the next two weeks, myself and the specialists gathered enough
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intelligence to provide to the infantry soldiers to essentially dismantle the insurgent cell that was operating in the river valley that had already taken life and limb from a number of our soldiers. after those few night, we never saw any more in our area. officer,elligence having that impact is one of the greatest feelings you can have. rep. speier: thank you. staff sergeant king. sgt. king: in 2002, during operation anaconda, we were waiting for the opportunity to go out and do our job. infantry, it is kind of like being a concert pianist. you spend all your time practicing and hoping you never have to go to the concert, but you are ready and prepared. someund out there had been issue with special forces and rangers and they needed help. we hopped in.
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operation anaconda took place on the side of mountains. we couldn't be dropped off at the top because it wouldn't be safe. we walked up and down mountains for a couple days. i remember one of the real moments was, we realized that the air force had been dropping some cluster bombs and as a result, we had to stop where we were. we couldn't afford to move around. i grabbed a rock as a pillow. i make myself comfortable. we took turns pulling security. night, wedown that had a specter gunship circling around these low left-hand turns
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real slow and you could hear the engines from it and that was our lullaby. who were force pilots going to stay and circle all night to keep us safe so that the next morning we would be able to get up and climb back up the mountain again, find more caves, find more bad guys to make sure that we would be able to go home and wouldn't have to worry about another 9/11. more recently, i was asked to be in a personal security detachment. it didn't take long before downsizing cause me to be a platoon sergeant. halfway through my deployment, we had even more downsizing. i was the platoon leader and platoon sergeant for a 34 soldier personal security detachment. one of the craziest parts was that it was to protect folks
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like yourselves. thereso that the generals and visiting leaders from within congress and the dod can be safe. was one of the biggest responsibilities that i found myself in because every one of those missions was to make sure people like yourselves came home safe and to make sure that my soldiers -- i have to attribute every bit of the success we had to the vigilance of the soldiers in 2002ad, to come home after having dealt with the trauma that we had in operation anaconda, and to compare it to 2014 where we were able to have so much success, it feels good to leave the soldiers and to be so successful. rep. speier: thank you. wyatt? hm3. wyatt: first of all, the --ortunity for me to serve
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those are the best highlights of all in my career. to be able to be a line corpsman for my marines and to be able to work with naval special warfare reconnaissance in camp pendleton. rep. speier: thank you. , can you explain how an individual's transgender status impact medical readiness and ability to meet standards? dr. erhenfeld: wonderful question. scholars, medical experts all agree that transition related care is reliable, safe, and effective. unfortunately, if you read the implementation report, there are a number of erroneous assertions and mischaracterizations about the scientific research on mental health and individuals
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with gender dysphoria. i'll tell you a story, when i was in afghanistan serving as a division officer in kandahar, i got a call from the air force colonel who said, i have a service member i need you to take care of. she said, the issue is he is transgender. i said, not a problem. i was surprised to find a transgender servicemember deployed with us given the current policy at that time didn't allow for open service. we took care of that individual. he did fine. what i'll say from that experience is that it is consistent with the department's own data that 40% of service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria deployed to the middle and don'tble to serve have any complications due to their gender identity. rep. speier: thank you. ranking member kelly. rep. kelly: thank you, chairman, and thank you for your
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testimony. i had the opportunity to meet with three of the panelists today and we discussed the importance of every service member being able to deploy. know thatace, i don't i can say it any better than you said it. you want your folks to go down range. when you gave your opening statement, i don't know that i can say it any more succinct. and i know that you meant it. i really appreciate that. i'm hoping that each of you can explain what impact your transition had on your deploy ability and what your expectations are for other soldiers who are doing the same. we will start with you, lieutenant commander. lt. cmdr. dremann: my non-deploy ability time during my transition was at seven weeks. over the course of three years. and that only includes three medical procedures, none of which haven't during a training
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event, one of which happened in between patrols, and before plead appointment training time. that is less time than a shoulder surgery. that is usually elective. withcan go on deployment needing a shoulder surgery and get it when they come back. my transition has had zero impact on any deployment or readiness issues. i've always been available for training, leaving my teams orher as a dive officer various other training events. i've never missed a single one. rep. kelly: captain stalock. and i'm sorry about pronunciations. i don't do those well. capt. stehlik: just fine, sir. ,y transition has had no effect
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not only on my ability to deploy, but my ability to get work done. when i had to go to therapy, i was able to rearrange my work schedule to cover the same number of patients in a week. when i was required to go to army school, i managed to do the same thing without having any effect on the timing of that school. i did all the legwork before hand to make sure that wouldn't be a problem and sought out the deployment that i wouldn't necessarily have been part of. rep. kelly: captain peace. capt. peace: throughout my transition over a period of , and this isn't something i normally speak about, i had four medical procedures and my total non-deploy ability time was around 4.5 months. two months was taken on personal leave. it is important to remember that a pregnancy from a female
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averages 16 months of non-deploy ability and that can occur multiple times. important that medical professionals and patients decide what the most appropriate care and treatment is and that treatment occurs when it lines up with unit readiness and mission responsibility. things like medical treatment or surgical procedures can wait until returning from the field, returning from deployment, over holiday leave. there's a lot of accommodations that should be made. it is insured to line up with mission priorities. sgt. king: thank you for this question. my experience is something that highlights how well this can go
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when leadership and medical service work together. thathad three procedures have been done through the military as part of my transition. the first was the dod's first ever vocal feminization surgery. the doctor said, in my opinion, this is medically necessary and a procedure that i think we should be able to perform. he did the first procedure of that kind in the dod. i went to my unit and said, when is the right time to do this? we determined that this procedure that was going to have me unable to speak for about four weeks, the best time that i could do it that made sense was right before christmas time. know, we have christmas exodus. by doing this, i shortened the time i was going to be down because i couldn't speak over christmas leave. i just used a whiteboard to talk to my kids. in the end of january, i was
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ready to go to the field. i have just one more example. in the summertime, i had a facial feminization surgery, again, the first one done in the dod. the doctor afterward said that this procedure enabled him to do other procedures after the fact because of the technique he learned. i did it in the summertime. i took two weeks of summer vacation and came back and the week afterwards i deployed to the field. rep. kelly: i apologize for interrupting you. you can't cause too quick around me. hm three wyatt. hm3. wyatt: basically i was on , took less time off and you would get for an ankle sprain.
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samey much i expect the for everyone. it is mission first. rep. kelly: i think it is important, deploy ability, so i'm going to ask you this question in context. i still take my pt test in front of my troops because it is important that they see that i either pass or fail. it is important to do that in front of soldiers. it is important to be ready. ,o you agree or disagree because different medical things, whatever they are, back, knee, they affect different people. disagree thatr they should be separated from service if i can't deploy from a long period of time? the current standard is 12
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months and if they can't meet that standard, they should be looked at for separation. >> i concur and i think that the important point is that we look at all service members the same. if you cannot meet the dod standard of the playability within 12 months for any given medical condition, you should be separated from service. the point i think is important is we are not trying to set a distinction that if you are transgender, there's a different standard. >> i agree. >> i absolutely agree that we should discharge those who are unable to complete the mission and deploy. the only caveat is i would have concerns that there would be some sort of nondeployed ability stigma attached to being transgender. it may not be medically necessary. it may not be granted to science, but by proxy it would
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not allow trend service members to stay in the military. i would say there is nothing that is applied to trans service members or trans health care that unnecessarily extends their nondeployed ability, then i agree. >> would you trust me to grade your push-ups? rep. kelly: absolutely. this new army combat fitness test, i'm not so sure that i could pull my knees up to my elbows. i am old. >> as a master fitness trainer, one of the things we learned in that class is the importance of having the opportunity to recover properly. we've learned that proper mean thatechniques any soldier, any service member who is training properly is going to be physically fit. anybody should be held to the same standards and be able to pass.
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forou can't, i have no need you next to me in combat. lot of ourt a members who need higher ash a i'm going to use military jargon. -- andly, be put on depending on how that is, either become session dealt or be put for another type of echelon of care. rep. kelly: i thank each of you for your testimony today and your service to this great nation. with that, i yield back. rep. speier: thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. i think we have to uncover some deep truths. kelly claims that there is a 282 pft. i want to know who is spotting you. that is a good friend. i would like to recognize
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someone that i served in iraq there,orporal john back who was with me in iraq in 2005. i'm just going to give a quick statement. you for the privilege and honor of hosting captain stehlik and lieutenant commander drennan. i've read the biographies of the other service members and they are impressive. we should all be so lucky to shake hands with these people who have shown such devotion to their country in the face of such animus. transgender people have zero impediments to service. they should be treated like any other soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. they are just that. these american heroes want to serve. they are able to serve and they are good at their jobs. let's let them do it. as someone who has served in the combat arms of the marine corps, i would have been honored to serve with you brave people.
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to you entrust my life and this country is lucky to have you. thank you, and with representative trey hand: i want to thank all of you for your incredible service, for sharing your stories. you are qualified. you are good enough, and we are lucky to have you protecting our security. it was nice to listen to some of the highlights of your service. all gone through parts of our career where we faced difficulties, so i would love for you to share some of your more difficult times in the
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military. and in that moment, it would be nice to know, was it being transgender that held you back, or was it just a difficult time in the military? >> thank you for the question. my most difficult time was my third patrol on a submarine. at the time i had been deployed in seven years straight and the middle of my third patrol on the submarine. and i was tired, i was struggling personally, i was struggling professionally. we were in the middle of three different inspections over the course of 70 days. i had lost personnel on my team, so i was the senior person ,ithin my food service division i did not have my senior guy
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that would normally take care of a lot for me, it was a difficult time. it was also about the time that i decided i needed to move forward with my transition. being transgender was not the reason i was struggling, but it definitely was an additive to the stress of being in the midst of three inspections being underway and deployed again for a long time, all of which i volunteered for. there was never a point where i didn't volunteer for any of my deployments, but you don't turn down those things. so that was the most difficult time. but my transition had no impact in my ability to continue to do the job, because we still came home with all our supplies, and everybody got fed, and we weren't on peanut butter and
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jelly. so we did well, but that was definitely my most difficult time. it a lotition made easier going forward, and reinvigorated my ability
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>> after 10 years of the army just telling me where to go, choosing to make that walk was difficult. and at the end of the day, the only question that they had wise, would you want to come to ,fghanistan with us -- had was would you want to come to afghanistan with us? difficult time for me in the military was the lack of policy. once the carter policy went away, it started getting litigated again. there was no clear policy in place when i was with the seventh infantry division as their intelligence planner. the chief of staff, a full-bird colonel called me into his office, he wasn't sure what to do with me, he didn't want me in the mail after many didn't want me in the female bathroom so he instructed me to walk down the
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road where there was a porta potty for construction workers and i had to do that for months. as the division intelligence officer, i felt that was not taking care of your soldiers. the second was when i was on leave. i was enjoying a vacation when i woke up to tweets from the president of the united states. i think it was at that moment that i for the first time really question, why am i still waking up and putting on this uniform, when time and time again i am told that i am not able to serve? why should i wait around to deploy, to risk my life again, when the people that i am serving do not even want me here? >> my most challenging day and my army career goes back to that same time during operation anaconda, carrying a soldier, looking for a helicopter that could land on the side of a mountain and hoping we got that soldier there in time. it wasn't a soldier from my unit, it was a soldier from a
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sister unit that had been serving with us. adding that soldier there and wondering -- getting that soldier there and wondering if we were going to have enough time, and finding out that ultimately we didn't have enough time. if i had an opportunity to give back the c ibi earned during that deployment, to get my soldier back, i would do that every single time. >> i almost lost faith in my superior, they didn't know what to do with me, they didn't know what was happening, they didn't know what to follow, there was no order up top.
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and regardless of the fact, i still did what i needed to do. acame into the military to be medical corpsman, to be a hospital corpsman, regardless of that fact. chairwoman speier: you all , that a keyof this component to building trust and unit cohesion is to be authentic, which you all bring that to your jobs each day. and iu brought it here, really appreciate all your testimony. and your focus on performance , and theards, treatment that everybody should have to rise to is really admirable. we are going to set conditions for you to thrive. i think you all for being here today.
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: thankntative cisneros you all for being here today, and thank you for serving your country. this is a voluntary service, nobody has to do it. you are doing it because you want to do it. i had the pleasure talking with att yesterday and talked about her career. i'm sorry i didn't get to meet you, lieutenant commander, it would be an honor sir to meet you in person. being a fellow supply officer, i know what you are going through, and the distinguished service award, the bachelder award, i know the good work you have to do to earn that, so congratulations to you and to all of you on your careers. i just, lieutenant commander, want to forward something you said. when you decided to transition,
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you said you felt it made you a better leader, a better officer. could you all talk about that for me, about how the transition has basically helped you, not only as an individual that has help your leadership and your career? >> thank you for that question. the reason it made me a better leader is i was no longer compartmentalizing my life. i was no longer blake at home and someone else at work. and bringing your whole self to work, as we require of someone in the military, because the military is not just a job, it is your life, and
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compartmentalizing a part of your life leaves a piece of you not able to contribute to the mission. and our mission requires all of you. and once i started my transition , having one less thing to worry about, i was able to be better at speaking up during meetings, i was a better leader on the watch floor in the control room on the submarine, a better trainer with my junior officers as i was training new junior officers that showed up on the submarine, how to operate a those of the things that you suddenly have the confidence to do because all of you is there. thathere is that i can say would make me want to go back to being a person who would sit in the back of the room and wait to be called on, rather than stepping up and being a leader
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in the room. and i think i can point to my transition starting that. period of my award for the bachelder was november 20 13-november 2014, which coincides with my starting my transition. myi'm here today defending ability and hopefully my privilege to remain in uniform and take care of soldiers. so it's possible my transition to transition has dramatically affected my career for the negative, and i want be allowed to stay in the military and won't be allowed further professional opportunities. that is really how it has affected my career, is that we don't know yet. that is why we are here. on the other hand, my transition has made me a much better physical therapist and a much
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better officer. one of my friends once told me, she read a book with this quote, people crave authenticity , we respond to people you can tell her being genuine. and i can tell you without question that that has been the overwhelming experience of my transition, that friends, family, strangers, patients, all come up to me and spill all of the things in their life, because somehow me being me, me saying to the world, here is who i am, take me as i am, allows them to do the same, allows them the freedom to say, things aren't ok in my life, but you look like you are doing ok but you are willing to tell the truth, so i am going to tell the truth too. that makes for a healthier population of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. it makes for a healthier command climate. that makes commanders make smarter decisions because they have better answers from
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soldiers. so to me there is no question it has made me a better officer. question is whether or not how it has affected my career. >> welcome to all of you. i'm glad you are here. i had the great honor to share -- to chair this subcommittee throughout don't ask don't tell. the early hearings were so important and i think it -- i think in our communities, what we saw was that the more that people came out and increased the familiarity that people had, no big deal in many ways, it was just the way the military received this out in the field. thaturse there were people had more difficulty with it, we can't deny that, but i think generally speaking the
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transition was much smoother than people thought. you,just want to thank because this is so important. and in many ways you have been on the most courageous journey that most people ever take. it is good to have you here and talking about this. i was going to ask you questions about the lowest day and the best day you have had in terms of general experience, and you have had a chance to answer that , mainly because we want to get to know you, and what it is that drives you to be the very best in your military career, and also as an individual. and you have expressed that very well. i'm going to turn to dr. ehrenfeld for a second, because there is confusion about the policies and i'm wondering how, maybe all of you can chime in, how do you explain to someone banis questioning what this
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means, that you are in the service, you have transitioned, and the fact that you cannot obtain medical help, as i understand it, if you join the service and you need to go through that transition. there are absolute differences in what is being proposed. don'tu clarify so that i leave an impression that could be incorrect? allows2016 policy transgender people to openly serve and get the same medical care as everyone else, which is something that is deeply important to me as a physician. the 2018 policy does just the opposite. under the 2016 policy individuals can transition gender before or during service if medically necessary, and continue to serve. under the 2018 they simply cannot.
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one thing that is really important is that i think a hallmark and a really important part of the 2016 policy is that it treats everyone the same. and what you have heard from the panel today is that there is no notion that anyone believes it is appropriate to reduce standards for what people should be able to do. and i would argue that the department's overall approach has been relatively conservative in the first two years of understanding what open service looks like. is that theample beginning of a course of hormone therapy should not from a medical standpoint require extended limitations or inability to deploy. the services have been using a one-year standard. the author of the endocrine guidelines the military has been using has stated a 90-day window is probably sufficient. representative: what you think
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people are most worried about? i have heardncerns our cost, readiness, and morale on units. a report came out on cost where the cost on transgender health care in the military has been $8 million, while during the same time we spent over one million -- $1 billion on the military ban and over $240 million on erectile dysfunction. so the readiness, cost, morale issues we have heard from don't ask don't tell all the way to the trans band, all of those are red herrings for a policy that is based in bigotry, that is based in denying a group that people are uncomfortable with that the policy level, at the administrative level of the government, but not within the military. it's not a concern in the military. it's not something you hear about. it is only through the offices any of d.c. that we hear these issues. my only conclusion from that is
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that they are not based on people who have served, but they are based on people who have not served in the military and the natural biases they hold against people they have never met. goodsentative: that is a point, the familiarity. not their neighbors, not the people they invite over for is an, and that really issue we face in society. thank you all of you, for being here. chairwoman speier: thank you, miss escobar? representative: thank you for bringing this hearing up and allowing us to participate. and to everyone on the panel, thank you for being here to share your expertise, but especially to those of you in service, thank you for your incredible dedication. thank you for everything you have done for this country. even in the face of what your country has at times done to you . we are going to have an interactive session.
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part of the concern, captain eace, you mentioned readiness, one of the concerns is readiness, and the accusation that transgender servicemembers are somehow unfit for deployment. if you could buy a show of hands, who has deployed overseas? ok. and again, a show of hands, who is currently eligible for worldwide deployment? ok. interactive question, very plainly put, who this is government-sanctioned discrimination? thank you.
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>> in order to become an officer member,listed service you can go green to gold, stay in the military and go to college and commission, and then there is officer candidate school. it requires selection by a general officer after reviewing your packet, and then sitting through a panel. once approved you go to fort benning for a 12-week, intensive course. there is multiple physical tests, multiple tests of military history, doctrine, tactics, techniques, troop-leading procedures, weeks in the field, navigation, it is a course to ensure that we only let those who are qualified to lead soldiers into combat.
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the concern is that on the very last day of officer candidate school, you don't simply commission to become an officer. you actually sign discharge paperwork as an enlisted soldier, and immediately following that you sign paperwork commissioning as an officer in the united states army. one-minutes, that window between receiving discharge paperwork and signing your commission means that you a session. if this policy goes into effect, no one who was trans will be able to take the same route i did or any other route to go from enlisted servicemember to an officer in the army. aside from what you just described, and terms of training, and terms of the , what you have achieved, did your gender identity at any point impair your ability to achieve that? >> absolutely not in any way
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have i held back -- have i been held back because of my gender identity or gender status. ask eachative: i could of you a similar question, i only got five minutes, i believe the bottom line would be the same for each and every one of you. that the rigors of what you have had to go through have proven that you deserve what you have theeved, it is just that government is trying to prevent you from achieving all you can. thank you very much.
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representative: [crying] i want to thank you all for your service. my father was a marine and my mother was a navy veteran. i traveled a lot during my father's career. it was probably 10 years ago when i asked my mom, was she disappointed that none of us, there are four of us, was she disappointed none of us joined the service? and she said no, you served your time. , as a countryd all of us should value our veterans. i just want you to know that regardless of what the president says, there are millions of americans who appreciate the service you have given to our country. i just want you to know that, that we do appreciate it.
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it is not everybody who will would decision to say, i die for my country. because a lot of people wouldn't. and i believe if there is one that didn't serve, we all know who that is right now, because that person devalues things people want to do to make our country better and move it forward. although i can't apologize for that person, i can tell you i will do everything in my power to make sure that we can bring back some civility and respect to the people who are serving our country. so i just wanted you to know that. my daughter is gay, and that doesn't make me more understanding. in fact, i didn't even know she was gay and i found out from someone else, and i asked her, why didn't you tell me you were gay?
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and she said, do you think teenagers set their parents down and tell them they are heterosexual, and i said probably not, and she said, then why should i tell you i am gay? and i thought, point well taken. everybody should just be who they are and everyone should accept them for that. and i want you to know, i accept you for who you are and i just you like right now, if tried to be someone you are not, you would not be as effective. and you pretty much all said that in your testimony. and i appreciate you for being .o honest there is so much discrimination and like those, of us who care deeply about
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that, that is why we ran for congress, that is one of the reasons why so many of us ran for congress, because we want to make things right for people, for everybody, for trans people, for emigrants, for people who have been marginalized. and i come from a culture of people who were marginalized. i apologize for going on, but i wanted you to know that there are so many people who appreciate your service, and i thank you all deeply for that. i have one question, and you all yourssed the low point in careers, this last time when the president weeded out his tirades outiscrimination -- tweeted
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his tirades of discrimination toward trans-servicemembers. how are your peers, how were the people you serve with? how did they come out and support you? what did you experience from other service members, whether they were trans or not? i'm concerned what the morale is out there with the people you are serving with. commander. capacity, i amal the president of an organization that supports transgender servicemembers. i work in a mostly civilian organization with military bosses and some military people. and the day that that happened, they knew that my leadership with my service members was needed for that day.
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sent me home to make corral myi was able service members, make sure they were ok, and take care of our trans service members to calm them down and send them right back to work. because that is what we were called to do that day. >> thank you for allowing me to participate in today's hearing. i want to thank the lieutenant commander for inviting me to be a speaker at the seventh annual lgbt pride day at the pentagon. it meant a lot to me. i want to thank each of you for your service and for your willingness to testify before this committee. signed theent truman
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executive order desegregating the armed forces, he said, whereas it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the united states the highest standards of democracy, with the quality -- with the quality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our countries -- in our country's defense. 2018 -- ins later in 2008, secretary of defense robert gates, while he was speaking at the anniversary of the signing of that executive , no aspect of black americans' quest for justice under the law has been nobler than what has been called the fight for the right to fight. you are now engaged and we are with you, and a very noble fight for the right for all americans to fight. so i thank you very much. in uniform,ears
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five on active duty, 25 in the in iraq. a year i served with the most patriotic men and women from all four corners of this country, straight and gay, black and white, all faiths, all races, all four corners of this country. as you each other and testified today and shared your experiences, all we cared about was whether you could do the job. that is all we cared about. in theis my experience , thatry, just like yours leads me to confidently conclude that there should be absolutely , noan, no discrimination differentiation, against transgender persons who want to serve in the united states military.
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i want to thank the chair for allowing me to participate. here is my question. based on your experience, particularly as you talked about the reaction from your peers, and also considering that i think all of you served before 2016 as well as after 2016, given that all five military chiefs, including the next chairman of the joint chiefs, says that transgender service members have not had any effect that 57ness, and retired flag officers say that if you ban transgender service you will actually degrade military readiness, can you describe what the impact would proposed, policy as this 2018 policy as proposed, where you would have transgender servicemembers who are serving but are prohibited from transitioning. when impact does that have on thate -- what impact does
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have on morale and readiness and unit cohesion? >> one thing to make clear, the two policies are very different. currently transgender people can join the military assuming they meet all of the. -- all of the other standards. soldiers now are allowed to seek care no matter what, whether it is trans related or not. if the policy changes, soldiers will no longer be allowed to seek care, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, will no longer be able to seek help no matter what. a diagnosis of theer dysphoria, under new policy you are terminated. when you look at what secretary carter said, when we changed the policy he said we put commanders
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in a bad place because they are trying to retain talent and do the right thing by their soldiers, but the regulations aren't clear. by moving to this new policy, not only are you going to put commanders back in the same position they were, you are now going to put medical providers in the same position, where they have to figure out, how do i treat these folks, and maybe not give them a diagnosis, so they can continue to serve because they are doing a good job. it is risky and not helpful. it makes everybody have to make much more difficult decisions that are not clear-cut and not well-regulated, which is exactly what the policy secretary carter announced two years ago was trying to prevent and change.
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chairman speier: the gentleman's time has expired. let me conclude this panel by saying i have been in the house of representatives now for about 11 years almost. and i can't think of a panel of witnesses that have come before this house that i have participated in that have showed ,ore talent, courage willingness to put forth a position that is truly appropriate, and do so with the kind of clarity and conviction that all of you have done. you are hopefully going to be part of a education that will allow us to do the right thing. you have shown extraordinary courage. i hope that this house of representatives shows the same make sureurage, to that this bogus policy promoted
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by the commander in chief, and only postponed because of a court case, that we show that this bogus policy has no business in the policies of the military or the united states of america. so thank you each and every one of you for the extraordinary service that you provide and for your presentations here today. thank you. we're now going to take a brief , couple-minute recess and transfer to the second panel. thank you very much. \[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] \[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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chairman speier: we're going to resume our hearing. those of you that would like to have a conversation, please take them out of the room. i'd like to welcome to our witness panel. i understand that mr. stuart will be making one opening statement for both witnesses. we respectfully ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes or less. your written comments and statements will be made part of the hearing record. our second panel consists of the honorable james stewart performing the students of the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness at the department of defense, and vice admiral bono, director of the defense health agency. with that, mr. stewart, begin. secretary stewart: chairwoman speier, ranking member kelly, and members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the important issue of military service by transgender individuals. prior to being confirmed as the assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, i served for 37 years in the active and reserve components of the united states air force and retired as a major , general.
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as both a servicemember and senior civilian official of the department of defense, i have greatly appreciated the work of this committee in support of the men and women of the united states military. until recently, department policy and practice precluded accession and retention of transgender individuals. however, in 2016 the department announced significant changes which made clear that no one could be denied a session or involuntarily discharged from service solely based on gender identity. the 2016 policy allowed service by transgender individuals without a history of gender dysphoria or transition. if they could meet the standards associated with their biological sex to include medical fitness, body fat, uniform and grooming, birthing and bathroom standards. the 2016 policy also allowed those with a history of gender dysphoria or transition to join
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the military in their preferred gender, so long as they were stable for at least 18 months. those who were diagnosed in the military could obtain medical treatment to transition genders. once transitioned, they were granted a categorical accommodation to meet the standards of their preferred gender rather than their biological sex. in 2017, in consultation with service secretaries and the chiefs of staff, then secretary mattis delayed implementation of the 2016 accession standards to conduct a review of his own. it is a common misconception that secretary mattis directed this review only after the president publicly announced his desire to return to the pre-2016 policy. that is incorrect. secretary mattis ordered a review of this issue nearly a month before the public statement from the president. subsequently in 2018 after an extensive review by senior and military and civilian leaders,
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secretary mattis adopted a new policy that will do two things. first, it will maintain the 2016 policy of allowing transgender individuals without a history of gender dysphoria or transition to serve if they adhere to all accession, retention, medical standards associated with their biological sex. second, it will end the policy of categorically providing a ancial accommodation to individual with a history of gender dysphoria that requires a transition. those members who relied on the 2016 policy or pursue a transition in service will be grandfathered or exempt under the previous policy. the 2018 policy will not apply to them. the vaught -- the fundamental difference between the 2016 and 2018 policies is the new policy ends the practice of providing special accommodations for individuals with a history or
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diagnosis of gender dysphoria and transition-related treatment. rather it approaches a condition , of same manner as the department of manages any serious medical condition for both accession and retention purposes, ensuring equal application of military standards to all persons regardless of gender identity. it does not assume gender transition is a panacea to the condition, and that all treatment options are compatible with military service. this is due to the fact that persons with gender dysphoria suffer from disproportionately-higher rates of mental health conditions such depressionand substance abuse disorders and , suicidal incidents. as the department has learned, transition care is highly individualistic and requires sustained medical monitoring and intervention, which can have a direct impact on individual readiness and deployability. as the department's report
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explained at length, gender transition can lead to substantial periods of deployment unavailability depending on the scope of the treatment. as such aligning a retention , standards for gender dysphoria and related treatment to a medicaly-situated condition ensures consistency with other standards that present a potential impact to deployability and force readiness. for example, lessons concerned from the implementation of 2016 indicate that of 424 treatment plans reviewed, 91.5% included hormone treatments, which in the case of the army and navy is deployment limiting for the first 12 months of treatment. before i conclude i would like to address a common criticism levied against the proposed policy. many have described the policy as a ban on transgender individuals. to the contrary, the 2018 policy, like the 2016 policy, prohibits a denial of accession or involuntarily separation solely on the basis of gender identity.
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so long as transgender persons, even those with a history of gender dysphoria, are willing and able to adhere to the standards associated with their biological sex and have not had disqualifying medical treatments. -- medical treatments, they may serve, and we definitely welcome them. it is important to remember that not all persons who identify as transgender have been diagnosed with or have a history of gender dysphoria. according to the american psychiatric association, not all transgender people suffer from gender dysphoria. and that distinction is important to keep in mind. the department's data appears to bear this out. for example, 8,900 active duty service members identify as according to a 2016 dod survey. yet as of first of february, 2018, only 937 have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. in proposing a new policy, the
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department is aware that some former officials and military leaders, along with advocacy groups and certain medical communities of practice, have reached a different judgment on this issue. but as we will discuss today, the realities associated with the medical condition called gender dysphoria and the , accommodations required for that gender transition in the military are far more , complicated than we may assume. this has certainly been the department's experience with the 2016 policy. as a consequence, the department has concluded based on its best thatitary judgment, sustaining the 2016 policy for the long-term would degrade military effectiveness and that , adjustments were needed in the 2018 policy. as new data -- chairman speier: you excluded your time by two minutes. so, can you wrap up, please?
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secretary stewart: as new data becomes available and the department informs our assessment risks, the department is committed to reviewing that depth as it does with , all other situations like this condition. to inform our future policy considerations. thank you very much for your time. chairman speier: all right. mr. kelly. representative kelly: thank you, madam chairman. mr. stewart, could you describe the research that went into developing the mattis policy? secretary stewart: so the research that was done basically, if you looked at the materials that we provided you, we had the service secretaries and we had all of the vice service chiefs take a look at this particular issue. we had outside medical experts along with military experts all -- military experts.
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all basically provided information associated with this issue. representative kelly: thank you. this is kind of a joint question. is the mattis policy a ban? and we had one of the witnesses testified earlier said you couldn't temporarily transfer to go to school or be promoted or change branches or those things or be commissioned. are those things true? ban, and people who were grandfathered in can't transfer between branches? is that correct? secretary stewart: the d.c. circuit court of a appeals determined it was not a ban on transgender persons serving in the military. that's the first thing. the second question, sir? representative kelly: one of the witnesses testified that you couldn't be commissioned from the green to gold, you couldn't transfer to a temporary school that is outside and come back in if you were grandfathered in is
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, that the case, or be promoted? secretary stewart: you are grandfathered under the current 2018 policy. everyone that is currently has a diagnosis of gender dysphoria will be brought in and they will be grandfathered. representative kelly: vice admiral bono, can you explain the co-morbidities with gender dysphoria? dr. bono: the co-morbidities we have seen associated with gender dysphoria are typically depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. representative kelly: what is the appointment -- what is the deployment? bono: depending on the types of procedures they have had, as
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you heard some of the panelists talk about, the recovery time was very quick. sometimes just a few weeks from four to six. sometimes eight weeks. with some of the more extensive surgery that can go from three to six months. representative kelly: how often does the department of defense retention standards and what is the process with this review? secretary stewart: every two years. actually every four years, but for this particular instance we'll be reviewing it every two years. what we do is basically look at data associated with those individuals that have gender dysphoria. and if we need to, we make adjustments at that time. mr. kelly: i thank the witnesses for being here. i yield. chairman speier: i'm astonished by your presentation. you just had the opportunity to listen to five transgender 10, 15 years,, many of them leaders, many of them deployed multiple times. can you honestly tell us that their service is any less valuable than those of their
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peers? secretary stewart: i don't think anyone's questioning their service, ma'am. chairman speier: by virtue of having this policy, you are questioning the ability of transgender persons to serve. secretary stewart: this policy is not about transgender individuals. this is about a diagnosis. this is about gender dysphoria. we have members out there that are transgenders that are serving in their biological sex meeting the standards as they , are. chairman speier: much like don't-ask, don't-tell. you can serve if you're transgender, but you are only going to be able to serve in your birth gender. so you are going to have to hide the fact that you're transgender you are not going to , be able to transition. that is a policy that belongs in the dark ages, not in a military of the 21st century.
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secretary stewart: as far as don't-ask, don't-tell, don't ask don't tell was, i believe not based on a medical condition. so this particular policy is written for a medical condition called gender dysphoria. chairwoman speier: vice admiral bono, you reference higher percentages of depressions. we already know in the military generally that we have a serious problem with suicides. so the question i have, our military applicants are screened for suicideality and mental health. so trans service members would have to meet those standards, would they not? dr. bono: yes. for those conditions. somehowan speier: so to they suffer from
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depression would be they suffer , from depression just like other service members may suffer from depression. dr. bono: we do see an association with those conditions with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. and what we have learned with our transgender individuals is they do have a slightly higher rate of behavioral health visits than nongender dysphoria service members. chairman speier: mr. stewart, in your written testimony you cite a single e.o. complaint caused by the presence of a transgender servicemember. yes or no, did the department of defense perform any systematic survey or comparison of the actual experiences of military units with or without transgender personnel? secretary stewart: ma'am, we don't -- chairman speier: yes or no. secretary stewart: repeat the question. chairwoman speier: you weren't listening, i guess? secretary stewart: yes, ma'am. speier: did the
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department of defense perform any systematic survey or comparison of the actual experiences of military units with or without transgender personnel? secretary stewart: not to my knowledge. chairman speier: yes or no. are you aware the service chiefs testified before congress last year that there were no, i repeat no issues related to cohesion or unit morale related to transgender service. secretary stewart: i believe you asked about the service of transgender individuals. you did not ask them about gender dysphoria. chairwoman speier: did they all testified there were no issues related to cohesion and discipline? stewart: since we don't track transgender individuals, it would be tough for them to determine if this particular situation with a medical condition would apply. chairwoman speier: have you studied how many come members -- how many commanders over the transgender servicemembers have
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faced issues about unit cohesion? stewart: not to my knowledge. chairwoman speier: do commanders always deal with unit cohesion challenges? secretary stewart: yes, they do. chairwoman speier: transgender servicemembers have been openly deploying for the last two and a half years. many conditions such as pregnancy, appendicitis, broken bones, make servicemembers temporarily non-deployable. is that correct? secretary stewart: that is correct. chairwoman speier: and if you're pregnant, there is evidently 16 months when you are not deployable? that is correct. temporarythe issue of nondeployable he of trans service members seen as something different than that of any other servicemember with a particular condition?
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secretary stewart: the information we have is that the time away from duty from the army was about 167 days, for the air force about 159. we provide common standards that promote fairness. chairwoman speier: you just heard testimony from each of the five servicemembers that their off, many of them did it during holiday breaks, vacation time, seven weeks, two weeks, that does not reflect the experiences you are suggesting. secretary stewart: no, ma'am. and basically we had a panel of experts take a look at this, and this is what they came up with. chairwoman speier: did they talk to these five persons? secretary stewart: i'm sure they did, but i don't know. i wasn't around during that timeframe.
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chairwoman speier: if i understand you correctly, under the proposed policy, which is not in effect right now because of the court staying at, which allows the 2016 policy to stay in effect, correct? secretary stewart: that is correct. chairwoman speier: but under the new policy, individuals who had gender dysphoria and no longer have dysphoria would no longer be able to join the military, is that correct? secretary stewart: that is correct. chairwoman speier: does not sound like a ban on transgender medical service? secretary stewart: no, ma'am. vice admiraleier: bono, according to testimony from an expert medical professional, he suggested the time was much less than the one year that the military is suggesting. can you speak to that?
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when we put bono: together the original guidelines, we were using the endocrine society's regulations. this is a quickly-evolving field of care, so it is very possible that other experience now shows it can be compressed and shorter than a year. this would be one of those aspects we would review as we looked at this. chairwoman speier: when might you do that? secretary stewart: we would probably do it every two years, when we go and review policies. chairwoman speier: so it would be 2020? secretary stewart: yes, ma'am. : secretaryive
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stewart, thank you for your service. before this assignment you were an air force major general landlocked 4700 hours of flight time on your 3700 -- on your 37 years of active duty. i'm sure the air force invested a lot in you, and it paid off. you know the cost of training a combat-ready pilot today? single, to train a fifth-generation fighter pilot is approximately $11 million today. i'm sure you are aware of the wenning pilot shortage that have. one out of four of all army, air force and marine corps billets are empty, and today we learned we missed our recruiting goals. are you aware of any transgender pilots currently serving openly, and if so, how many? secretary stewart: i would not be aware of that. you have to identify yourself as a transgender. we don't track it in the department of defense. sayesentative: would you this band is counterproductive to the readiness of the military, by hindering our retention ability, given the
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critical shortages we already have? areetary stewart: so we dealing with what you are calling a band. what we are talking about a medical condition -- what we are talking about is a medical condition, which we are making it fair for all as far as i session standards. -- as far as accession standards. i want to talk about the cost and our readiness. there is a risk, as we learned today, of people who have transitioned if they leave service, not being able to come back. and that is an enormous cost to our military and to our readiness. despite what the president will have us believe, the metal coal -- the medical cost of a transition-related health care is not actually making a dent in the department of defense's overall health care budget. only $8has spent million on transgender-related medical costs since when he 16.
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.016% of one year of the pentagon's total annual health care spend. if i am doing my math right, the retraining cost of losing just one transgender military pilot than thetimes more entire transition-related care for the military in one year. is, why would the department of defense spend more money replacing pilots we can't even afford to lose, when we are already so short on pilots that we are in a readiness crisis? secretary stewart: and so for those individuals there is a waiver available, but ultimately the retention piece is very, far asfficult issue as retaining them. but we are not talking about a transgender individual and kicking them out just based
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on the fact that they are self identified as a transgender. the whole policy here that we have been looking at is a condition. so ultimately, like all medical conditions -- representative: i think the outcomes would be the same. we would actually add to the shortage we already have today and put our readiness at risk. but i'm going to switch gears. vice admiral bono, are you aware the american medical association, the american psychiatric association, amongst others, have issued statements reflecting the consensus that a transgender bean as no basis in medical science? >> yes ma'am. chairwoman speier: keith -- representative: can you think of any other situation where military professionals have issued such a resounding statement on military policy? bono: we are following the advice of our own
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transgender servicemembers, being able to watch to see what the transition and their care and compasses. and so much of what we have learned has been based on the care that we have been able to give our trans servicemembers in the past couple of years, and that is slightly different. : how is itive how i divergent? vice admiral bono: their behavioral health visits are 22 visits per person, as opposed to two visits for non-gender dysphoric servicemembers. we also see a higher rate of suicidal ideation, so we take those things into consideration as we are looking at the data and the statements from those professional societies. representative: thank you. i yield back. thank you toe:
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both of you for being here. i wonder, mr. stuart, if you could share how many persons -- how many transgender persons have assessed into the military since january 2018. with gender dysphoria, since the first of january, we have had 12 sessions, and we have about 228 applicants out there. assessions> 12 sessions. and i know you are focusing on the dysphoria, and i appreciate it. individual that an has served and is a transgender, we don't ask individuals with is.r gender identity so it is difficult for us to go ahead and track an individual unless they self identify.
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the whole policy we have been talking about to date is on a medical condition. that is what we are focusing this change on. not a ban on transgender individuals. because as all of them stated here, they all are great americans and have served honorably. >> i think the difficulty is are individuals, and we know we have individuals who want to serve their country, a qualified, they've gone through candidate, training school, whatever they have done, if we say then that they suffer from dysphoria, and therefore, we can't have them in the service, what they're thinking is to be transgender. not like some other medical conditions so them but, we can have
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serve with great dignity and want they are through the process of dysphoria correct? that is true, they may suffer from that in your eyes, but the fact that they are seeking to change that medical diagnosis. >> yes, ma'am. i understand your point. >> affecting their ability to go on and serve in go of the career ladder. >> ultimately we talking about the accommodation of standards -- we have other conditions out there about basically don't have the benefits associated with having direct access into the military. for instance, other surgeries that are done out there are not treated the same as this particular condition, which is
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called gender dysphoria. if i had a surgery on the outside they would be disqualifying to bring that individual in under the current standards. -- what we right now , the 2016 now standard associated with gender is a special case, where if we have an individual come in and they meet our standards, then we bring them on. not the case for, say, a heart condition, or something else. >>.org we are looking at is the possibility that will change and those individuals would not be evil to go on and serve their country in the way that they have a calling and that they are contributing to our national security. what is it about that in terms
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of what is required for them to make that transition, which is a find,ult one, that you theyou personally, but that agencies find so problematic? is it the cost alone? the fact that people are going for more sessions with a therapist, i think what we want is for our military, who are serving well, to access those services. one of the greatest problems we've had is that they don't. and they feel that it is not , and what happens, some of them, as we know, commit , and their families are affected so greatly by that. so i think there is this disconnect that we are talking more --ere if we were if we could see that as a transition, that is not unlike
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some other possibilities that people bring to the service, that we would have the benefit of their service. through,hen we go what's different -- what i am afraid of is that this is sending such a strong message to people who want to serve, and decide thatg to they are not wanted. because we're not offering the services that they need. i just don't see that it we need to do that. looks like my time is up, i'm sorry. it sounds like this decision was
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not one that people took part in, and that is a problem. mr. stewart: they actually were. they had a number of individuals to include the individual members that are currently service, transgenders, they also had before the panel of experts, both civilian and medical experts that came before them. they had commanders, of transgender individuals, and so we had a large number of individuals before the panel of experts that were basically looking at all of these issues. before coming up with the current policy. >> mr. stuart, thank you. would you make available to the committee the transcripts of that particular panel discussion, please? mr. stewart: so i'm not -- as you know, we have current litigation going on right now. -- i have a legal expert here with me to make sure that we
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don't mess up our case. the case is currently in the courts. as i understand the deliberative process privilege is what i'm being told in the back. >> maybe you can ask your legal expert to come forward and join you there for a moment. through discovery, don't you have to make your information available to the other side? mr. stewart: yes, there's a requirement. we are in discovery in the litigation. the department of justice on behalf of the department of defense, has invoked privilege, the deliberative process privilege. over the details of the materials that were presented to the panel of experts. there is general information that is made available in the that the specifics
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of who recommended what -- >> you can redact the name. >> we are invoking privilege. speier: you can invoke privilege, but has the court upheld it? mr. stewart: no it's currently be litigated. rep. speier: presuming that you lose in that regard, and that information becomes available to the other side, then you should be in a position to make available to this committee. mr. stewart: that's been our position. rep. speier: all right, and you will do so, i presume once that decision is made, if it's made in favor of the plaintiff's in the case? mr. stewart: again we're represented by the department of justice, and they would -- rep. speier: let me make a couple of points. as i understand it, and this is for you, vice admiral bono, right now, it is required that trans service members meet
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weekly with a therapist, is that correct, whether they need it or not? vice adm. bono: i'm not aware of the treatment plans for each of the transgender service members who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria. rep. speier: that's what i'm being told. that they are required to meet weekly with a therapist, and in some respects the experts are saying that that is likely over prescription. could you look into that for us and report back? i am also being told that gender dysphoria or is treated like other highly treatable conditions. there's postop patients are stable, and able to serve according to the american medical association and the american psychiatric association. vice adm. bono: yes, ma'am. rep. speier: that is the case?
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vice adm. bono: yes, ma'am. after they have undergone any treatment, there is always a medical assessment to make sure they're fit for full duty. so we follow the clinical guidelines from all the different societies that oversee these types of surgeries or any type of surgeries and treatments. so this is part of the treatment that is also nonsurgical. then our additional assessment for military service members, regardless if they're transgender individuals or not is to make sure that they're completely fit for full duty. so i think the concern that many of us have is that if you are going to put a subsequent layer of assessment that is subjective, it could easily be twisted in a manner that could allow for the decision to be made to discharge individuals because they don't meet the subsequent review, in addition to what the ama, and apa suggest after surgery.
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maybe i'm not making myself clear. if a patient has this transition , and they are stable, to are allowed to return active duty, and those guidelines are followed, that are available through the american medical association, what you are saying is that in addition to that, you would do yet another assessment to see if they are -- vice adm. bono: yes, ma'am. because part of the service for the military personnel is we have to be immediately deployable in many times, and in many places, and many places are fairly austere, and rigorous environments.
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we just want to make sure that each of our service members are in the best condition to serve and that they are not an additional risk to their own health or to the safety of other service members. generally the guidelines, the clinical guidelines we follow with the ama, or any other society for a particular procedure, generally that is already me to the bar of being .it for full duty while event take into consideration is whether or not there will be deploying to places where we may not have all the medical capability or all of the behavioral health capability to be able to provide care if that is needed. so our assessment for fitness for full duty means they'll be able to be deployed without any need for additional care. rep. speier: thank you. ms. escobar? thank you, madam chair. mr. stuart, i'm curious about the panel and the restrictions
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on us being able to see any documentation right away. me, to your knowledge, were there any dissenting voices on the panel. mr. stewart: i wasn't involved in it, so i couldn't answer that. rep. escobar: and it was this panel that drove this policy? mr. stewart: the panel of experts were put together by the secretary. the secretary got all these experts together to determine what the policy changes were going to be. ultimately, the secretary was concerned about the fact that the implementation of this policy, and he called together a panel of experts to make sure right assession policy in place, that it met all the right standards as far as
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employment policy in those states. rep. escobar: so one person, the secretary, made the determination of who would serve on the panel, that is your understanding? mr. stewart: the secretary basically called it together, and identified who the individuals were going to be. in the advanced materials that i provided to you on page 18, will give you a really descriptive idea of the panel itself. it, it willto actually point out to you that the panel consisted of the undersecretaries secretaries of the military departments the , armed services vice chiefs, the vice commandant of the coast guard and senior innocent advisors, chaired at that time by the undersecretary of defense. rep. escobar: and all those individuals work for the secretary of defense? mr. stewart: that's correct. rep. escobar: so the secretary's subordinates were given direction by the secretary, i'm assuming? mr. stewart: that's true. in your testimony,
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the written testimony on page 2, you state, those who were diagnosed with transsexualism while in service would generally be discharged, although typically, because they suffered from associated medical conditions such as depression or anxiety, that were also a basis for separation. are depression, and anxiety treatable? mr. stewart: they are. yes, ma'am. rep. escobar: ok. describe what medical rationale might have gone into this decision? mr. stewart: i would defer to the admiral on the medical side. bono: thank you. what we did was we used the same treatment criteria that we use for the treatment of depression in any service member. depression or anxiety, we use the same standards for that, and that is some stability without the need for additional medication over a period of time. rep. escobar: is every service
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member who suffers from depression or anxiety treated in the same way, essentially, they would be discharged? vice adm. bono: no ma'am, not in that same way. they are treated in the same way that they are evaluated, and then, a treatment plan. then, for each service member from being able to be stable from that diagnosis, they are allowed to continue that service . rep. escobar: but someone who suffers from the condition, gender dysphoria would be treated differently? thehe sense that consequences for their depression and anxiety would mean that they would get a different outcome? vice adm. bono: so, i believe in the new policy we are looking at is that there would be a period
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of stability of 36 months if they did have the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. so if they did receive treatment and were stable for 36 months they would be considered for acsession. rep. escobar: has there been any evidence for difficulties in service for transgender servicemen or service women? mr. stewart: so since we don't really track whether they're a transgender, that's a self-identified condition. gender dysphoria. we don't track whether a service member is identified or self identified as a transgender individual. so tracking in the department of defense, we don't do that. rep. escobar: if the individuals before us today were any indication of the caliber of we are really, losing out on an incredibly talented group of patriots. i have one last question.
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mr. stewart: can i answer that? rep. escobar: my time is running out, sorry. how is this not discrimination? mr. stewart: we are looking at a condition, we're not looking at discriminating against someone who self identifies as a transgender individual. escobar: i am out of time. >> mr. brown? rep. brown: thank you. would you please define briefly, gender dysphoria? vice adm. bono: gender dysphoria is a marked incongruence between somebody's gender identity and their gender assigned as birth. rep. brown: and you said incongruity? and what does that mean? vice adm. bono: the incongruity is often times associated with severe stress and impaired function. rep. brown: fine. the me ask this.
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we have a cisgender male and a transgender male who has not transitioned. they show up to enlist. under the proposed policy, if the transgender male didn't have gender dysphoria, both could enlist into the military, right? vice adm. bono: correct. rep. brown: if three people show up cisgender, transgender, and a -- transgender who is undergoing transition shows up, can the transgender male undergoing transition, can they enlist under the policy? mr. stewart: no. rep. brown: that is the ban, that is the ban. i say no, but anything is waiverable. rep. brown: i understand that. but that is the ban. i am aup when i say that transgender male, i get to come in.
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mr. stewart: if you identify as a transgender male. rep. brown: let me clarify. i'm reclaiming my time let me ask my question. i'm a transgender male, i've been through transition, i want to enlist. can i enlist in the army? mr. stewart: no. mr. brown: that's a ban on a transgender male who has been under transition. that is a discrimination. because, when you undergo, and tell me if i am right or wrong, when you undergo a transition, you are addressing gender dysphoria that incongruency that the level of, and anxiety, and depression, and all those associated morbidities, i think you called them decrease , tremendously, is that right? vice adm. bono: that is correct. the treatment -- the transition is the treatment for -- you have someone who is actually taken the steps to address a gender dysphoria,
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and yet they are banned from entering the military. isn't that right? yes or no? vice adm. bono: yes. rep. brown: yes. ok. mr. stewart: so what you said , though, is there was surgery done, right? rep. brown: the question was answered. the transition was done. mr. stewart: the transition was done. ultimately, then, there was surgery and other procedures done associated with that. so what we are saying is that we are providing an accommodation for one group of individuals versus another. aheade, if you were to go and provide that individual that now, another individual who has some other type of surgery like her surgery, or something like that -- rep. brown: i am going to reclaim my time. i'm going to reclaim my time because we are not talking about heart surgery and diabetes. we are talking about a group of americans who identify as transgender. i don't see, i have never seen a group of americans, ok, for
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prone to heart attacks, who come lobbying congress and say, give us the right to serve even though the risk of heart attack is very great, because i have already had three or that's four. mixing apples and oranges, and i don't appreciate that. i hear about special accommodations. the same thing was said about african americans when they to enter the army and integrate the army in 1948. same thing was said about gay lesbian, and bisexual members that wanted to serve, and that's where, yes, it is like "don't because therel," is a difference. lesbian, bisexual, you can serve if you don't do it in the open. if you are transgender, only if you agree not to transition, you can serve. that's just like "don't ask, don't tell." so this conversation about well, we don't ask about transgender, we just go for gender dysphoria,
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and then, when someone addresses that come there are not allowed to come in to the military, that is a problem. i yield back the balance of my time. whoo! >> thank you. i'd like to just follow-up on mr. brown's questioning. it would appear that the issue around transgender is this issue around gender dysphoria. that's the big concern. if someone has already had the surgery, transitioned, the likelihood of gender dysphoria drops dramatically. so to mr. brown's question, how could you possibly deny that individual the opportunity to serve if they want to? mr. stewart: and i go back to my earlier statement, which is a surgery that was done, other treatment that was done, for that particular individual, that provides a accommodation from standards.
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we have other individuals that would like to assess that basically have other types of surgeries. so ultimately, ma'am, those particular surgeries keep an individual from coming in. i'll give you an example. an individual that hat as i mentioned before, a heart condition, and basically has had the surgery, if we were to go ahead and let them in -- we don't let them in. rep. speier: i know, you're talking, mr. stewart, of a health condition. mr. stewart: and what we're talking about here is a health condition called gender dysphoria. rep. speier: now. they don't have gender dysphoria anymore. they have taken care of it. they've had the transitional surgery. mr. stewart: so back to my earlier comment, if they have the surgery, other surgeries are disqualifying that we have out there in the asession world. vice adm. bono: yes, ma'am. rep. speier: you're not helping
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your case, i regret to tell you. go ahead, vice admiral bono. [laughter] vice adm. bono: thank you. there are certain surgeries that people have that are already disqualifying for military service. and so, that's part of the consideration, is that there are surgical procedures. rep. speier: can you give us an example? vice adm. bono: yes, ma'am. surgeries for cancer are disqualifying for coming into the service. we do know that even though someone may have had a cancer diagnosis and they successfully have the surgery which cures their cancer and they are in remission, by virtue of the fact that they have had that diagnosis and the surgery they are disqualified from military service. there are other surgical procedures of the same way. back surgery is another one. so there is a whole range, and in this case, the procedure, the surgical procedures for transition are considered disqualifying.
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rep. speier: but it's disqualifying in part because if you've had back surgery the likelihood of you being able to meet the physical standards or you have cancer and it's in remission, but it's potentially going to recur, it may impact your ability to meet the physician standards. if you have had transition surgery, and you can meet all the physical standards, how can we possibly deny that individual from serving? you are in are difficult position, i understand. stewart: madam speaker, i accommodated -- >> there is one condition, if i may comment. i had an application for west point a couple of years ago and it happened to be a friend of mine. he had a condition where he was born -- his child was
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born, i don't know the medical terminology, but it was on the bottom in stead of the front and that was disqualifying. not birth, on -- it was if you know the medical term please tell me so i don't -- but. it was disqualifying. but there is a waiver for that process, like there are any medical processes -- diabetes, scoliosis, flat feet, sleep conditions that are disqualifying from entry, but there is a waiver for those if you can show that you are completely recovered, is that correct, vice admiral bono? vice adm. bono: yes sir, that's correct. rep. speier: all right. is there any further questions? we want to thank both our witnesses, thank all of you for attending. this committee stands adjourned. [bangs gavel]
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[inaudible conversations] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit] >> when the house returns from its recess, on tuesday, they will vote on overriding the president's veto on the resolution that would terminate his emergency border declaration. they will vote on thursday on a nonbinding resolution rejecting the president's ban on transgender americans serving in the military. watch live coverage here on
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c-span. c-span2 will have live coverage on the senate as they vote on confirmation of federal appeals court nominees and disaster aid, and the green new deal. afterwords, on historian victor hansen talks about his book, the case for at thewhich looks campaign, the election and presidency of donald trump. he is interviewed by a former virginia republican congressman. >> is a conundrum. theirnticipated tomography by about 50 years, got ahead of it. they had thegh demography they want right now, they are not quite sure how to make people vote monolithically according to their skin color rather than the content of the character. . think they are in a dilemma meanwhile, donald trump being crafty, is going around the back , you in detroit and you in new york, you guys in
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bakersfield and san jose, i will give you better jobs in the way that they never did. it you have to tell anybody about voting for me, just go in there and vote. and they are so leveraged, having 95% african-american voters, they are hemorrhaging. >> watch afterwords on c-span2. . >> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. >> ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country! [applause] >> the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon! [applause] book, "the newest president's." providestorians insights into the lives of the 44 american presidents. true stories got it by
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interviews with noted historians. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced, and the legacies they have left behind. published by public affairs, c-span's the presidents will be 23.helves april but you can preorder your copy in hardcover or e-book today at, or ever books are sold. for 12 years, don stewart has worked in the office of senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. he has also worked first and it is john cornyn and phil gramm. he is now leaving the majority leader's office to work for the association of global automakers. we discussed his career as a senate staffer. don stewart, after more than two decades as a staffer on capitol hill, this is your final day. what are your thoughts, what are you thinking?


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