WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Male U.S. veterans are twice as likely to identify themselves as female compared to male civilians, according to a new study from a leading researcher in transsexuals in the military.
Nearly 24 years after research indicated that male-to-female transsexuals enlist in the military as a way to exhibit more masculinity, new data on the subject suggests that men who serve in the military are much more likely to identify as transgender than men who do not serve in the military. Following up on his 1988 paper, “Transsexuals in the Military: Flight into Hypermasculinity,” psychologist George Brown has compiled research of more than 5 million service members that he says cements his earlier research. Brown’s 1988 paper relied on interviews from 11 male service members who identified themselves as female.
“I have data from a study I did in VA that demonstrates a prevalence double that in the nonmilitary population,” Brown told Courthouse News. “It is unpublished data, pending presentation in San Francisco in the fall. It totally supports my 1988 work. The denominator in the study is over 5 million veterans. So, I am now confident that my early theory was correct.”
Brown, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a former member of the Department of Veterans Affairs, could not go into further detail about his findings as the study has yet to be published, citing confidentiality matters.
The study comes four years after the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance concluded in 2008 that one in almost 12,000 male-to-female transsexuals had gone through some form of gender identity disorder, according to Courthouse News. Regulations from the Department of Defense hold firm to the stance that people who identify themselves as transgender are not allowed to serve in the military.
Others, such as Aaron Belkin, director of UCLA’s Palm Center, an institute for studying the military’s sexual minorities, believe that Brown’s research, which includes the idea that transgender service members volunteer for the more dangerous missions, is “path-breaking.”
“Warrior identity and military masculinity are so revered in this society that people will do whatever it takes, including dying, for people to prove that they are ‘real men,’” Belkin told Courthouse News. “The fact that many [male-to-female] transgender individuals join the military to prove that they are ‘real men’ is a sad testament to the culture’s idealization of warrior masculinity.”
Brown’s research is the latest in the ongoing discussion of whether male-to-female transsexuals have a role in the military. The defense team for Bradley Manning, the alleged source behind the enormous intelligence leak that led to WikiLeaks, has pleaded in the past that Manning’s mental health was significantly affected by military standards against transgender troops.
Brown has not indicated when or where the study would be published.