Transgender military service

Transgender people have performed military service throughout history. Many countries allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, including:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Netherland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden

United States

In the United States, thousands of transgender servicemembers have served honorably, including many notable veterans:

  • Calpernia Addams
  • Kristin Beck
  • Mary Elizabeth Clark
  • Joanne Conte
  • Sage Fox
  • Phyllis Frye
  • Jennifer Gale
  • Deborah Hartin
  • Monica Helms
  • Christine Jorgensen
  • Yasmin Lee
  • Shane Ortega
  • Jennifer Pritzker
  • Sabrina Ramet
  • RenĂ©e Richards
  • Angelica Ross
  • Lauren Scott
  • Sheri Swokowski

Thousands more transgender people are currently on active or reserve duty, including many who serve openly. Many transgender people ages 18 through 25 are required to register with the US Selective Service System in the event of a military draft. A 2013 study found that transgender people are more likely to serve in the US military than other citizens.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) found that transgender Americans serve in the military at a high rate; 20 percent of NTDS respondents had served in the armed forces as compared to 10 percent of the U.S. general population.

Still Serving in Silence: Transgender Service Members and Veterans in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (2013). [PDF]

Their status was challenged beginning in 2017, when Donald Trump indicated he would reverse an Obama Administration decision that allowed trans people to serve openly.

Learn more below about transgender military service in the United States.


Resources

TAVA: Transgender American Veterans Association (transveteran.org)

  • Advocates for health services for transgender veterans.

OutServe-SLDN (outserve-sldn.org)

  • Legal group that advocates for authentic transgender service and supports the LGBTQ military and veteran communities

SPART*A (spartapride.org)

  • Advocates for actively serving transgender military members, veterans, and their families.

Tawani Foundation (tawanifoundation.org)