Army chief says transsexuals should be able to join Swiss military

Under current army medical guidelines, people can be turned down for military service because they are transgender. Keystone

Transgender people should be allowed in the Swiss army if they meet the conditions of service, says outgoing army chief Philippe Rebord. This comes after a man was turned down for being transgender. 

This content was published on August 16, 2019 - 11:41

Rebord, who steps down at the end of the year, said in an interview with 20 Minuten newspaper on Friday that he wants army guidelines on the issue revised. The army’s medical guidelines currently provide that being transgender is a reason to declare people unfit for service.   

The debate has been sparked by the case of a 21-year-old transgender man who wants to do military service but was refused. He told the 24 Heures newspaper this was despite good medical and sports results. All able-bodied Swiss men are called up to do military service. 

Asked about the case, army spokesperson Delphine Allemand told 24 Heures that under current criteria transgender people are considered unfit for military service because they generally “need medical and sometimes psychological support which cannot be guaranteed by the army – especially during missions, when the health of the individual in question could be put at risk”.  

The young man was also discouraged from insisting, because he was told he might become the victim of discriminatory behaviour by other serving members of the army. He has nevertheless appealed his case.  

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