In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, it was revealed that despite transgender bans in the U.S. military, transgender people serve at a higher rate in every age group than their counterparts in the U.S. population. The survey found that “nearly 1 in 5 (18%) respondents have served in the military, including veterans and those currently on active duty.”
Of those who were separated from the military within the last ten years, 60% “said that they might or would return to the military if the ban on transgender service members were lifted.” Of those respondents who separated from the military over ten years ago, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) “said they were discharged partly or completely because of their transgender status, and 19% left the military to avoid being mistreated or harassed as a transgender person.”
Of the “current service members whose leadership or commanding officers knew or thought they were transgender, nearly one-quarter (23%) said that actions were taken to discharge them.” Though, many reported that their commanding officer responded in a positive way to those with transgender status. 36% reported that leadership supported transition-related medical treatment, and 47% supported a name change. 30% reported that leadership ignored the transgender status completely.
Veterans who have separated from the military within the last ten years were asked if they would return to the military if transgender people were allowed to serve. 30% of respondents said they would return, 30% said they might return, and 39% said that they would not return.
The survey’s conclusion states, “The results suggest that lifting the ban on transgender service members and implementing new policies could lead to a substantial number of current and former service members continuing or resuming their military service.”