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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Transgender people drawn to the military tell their stories

Why are transgender people drawn to the military?

As a young psychiatry resident at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the 1980s, Dr. George Brown was surprised the first time he saw a transgender patient. Estimates at the time were that for every 100,000 biological males in the general population, no more than three were transgender. Brown figured the rate had to be even lower in the all-volunteer military. It made little sense to him that a transgender person would choose to join an institution that by its nature had no tolerance for deviance. Yet over the next three years, Brown saw 10 more transgender patients — all of them seeking hormone therapy and male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. He began to...

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