House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) indicated today there are “14,000 to 15,000” transgenders serving in the U.S. military.
Pelosi was responding to the tweet that President Donald Trump sent out yesterday saying transgenders would be barred from serving in the U.S. military.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts,” Trump said in a series of tweets on Wednesday, “please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
At her Thursday press briefing, Pelosi told reporters this was “appalling” and indicated her belief that there are 14,000 to 15,000 transgenders in the military.
“The president, without apparent consultation with the joint chiefs or the Pentagon tweeted—maybe as a result of that meeting you’re talking about or maybe as a result of I don’t know what—his thought that they can be discriminated against, comes out and tweets that 15--14,000 to 15,000 patriotic Americans who want to serve our country are fired. It is appalling. It is appalling.”
On July 26, the day before Pelosi's press briefing, Politifact ruled that Rep. Mark Pocan’s (D.-Wisc.) statement in a press release that there were “[m]ore than 15,000 transgender Americans…serving in the military today,” was “half true.”
Pocan said in a press release: “Transgender Americans deserve respect and the opportunity to serve our nation in the military. With more than 15,000 transgender Americans serving in the military today, President Trump should immediately, reverse course on his decision and he should stop using shocking policy shifts on Twitter to distract Americans from his failing health care plan.”
Politifact determined that “there are no official statistics on the number of transgender people in the military.” So, without any “official statistics,” it turned to what it called “two prominently cited studies that produced estimates which vary.”
“To support Pocan’s statement, his office referred us to a 2014 report by UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy. (The Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality pointed us to the same study.)
“That study estimated that 15,500 transgender individuals were serving on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve forces.
“The study said its primary source was a national survey done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, which the researchers said was the largest sample of transgender people in the United States available at the time. That survey was conducted over a six-month period starting in the fall of 2008.
"'Data that allow for a direct tabulation of the number of transgender individuals who serve in the U.S. military simply do not exist,’ the researchers wrote. ‘The estimates in this research brief rely on a variety of assumptions that could affect their accuracy.’”
The Politifact analysis went on:
“A 2016 study by the RAND Corp., commissioned by the Pentagon, reported lower figures than the UCLA study.
“The RAND researchers estimated between 1,320 and 6,630 active duty and between 830 and 4,160 in the reserves. That would be a total of between 2,150 and 10,790 transgender service members, based on figures for people serving in the military in 2014.
“The study said the estimate was derived from data from multiple surveys. And the reseachers noted: ‘It is important to note that there have been no rigorous epidemiological studies of the size’ of the U.S. transgender population, including those who serve in the military.”
This information caused Politifact to conclude that the congressman’s claim was “half true:”
“There are no official counts, so Pocan goes too far in flatly stating his figure. But his figure matches one of two prominently cited estimates.
“We rate the statement Half True.”