CHICAGO --- A recent policy recommendation from the Trump administration disqualifies transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition from serving in the military. A Northwestern University expert on LGBT health can comment on the negative impact these discriminatory policies have on a person’s mental and physical health.

Brian Mustanski is the director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) and a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Mustanski focuses on the mental and behavioral health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, with a focus on youth. Mustanksi was listed as one of the #Pride30 on 2017 NBC News Out list. Contact: 312-503-5421 (office) or [email protected]

Quote from Professor Mustanski
“In my 15 years of studying LGBT health, research has shown that discriminatory policies designed to prevent sexual and gender minority people from full participation in society negatively impacts their mental and physical health.

“Alternatively, policies that support the equality of LGBT people have been shown to not only benefit the LGBT community but also the general population.

“The cost of health care was originally cited as a reason behind the policy. However, research shows that health care costs for transgender people are similar to those of the general population. The exception is for transgender service members who seek gender-transition related health care, which could add up to a very small, approximately 0.2 percent, increase in military health care expenditures.

“Inversely, the cost of providing care up front helps prevent future health care costs amassed by mental and physical health problems that may arise from lack of care. Research on the U.S. military has shown that similar policy changes that allowed gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly in the U.S. military have had no significant effect on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness.”