U.S. Military: Don’t Forget the T for Transgender

On June 26, 2012, for the first time in its straight-laced history, the Pentagon celebrated “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month," but it still needs to include one important group.
By: Mohr Publicity
 
June 27, 2012 - PRLog -- As an honorably discharged veteran of the US Air Force (1977-81, 82nd FMS) I am usually proud of our military, however as a transsexual woman and a lesbian, I have long been saddened by the civilian-dictated policy that patriotic LGBT citizens cannot openly serve with pride. On June 26, 2012, for the first time in its straight-laced history, the Pentagon celebrated “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.” This is a stunning cultural milestone that officially recognizes what has always been true, that gay people serve our country in the military. The repeal of Don't Ask Don’t Tell is a huge step toward a day when people will not be judged based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is good that we celebrate the advancement of LGB rights, however let us not forget the “T.”

http://youtu.be/mWziz4N6RUY



In those years that spanned my nineteenth through my twenty-third birthday, I was not yet aware I was destined to transsexual transition. My only clue to my gender identity what my compulsion to cross-dressing, which had a sexual element in the beginning and eventually evolved into a non-sexual identity issue that required a medical transition from male to female — an unforgettable, dramatic and intense odyssey described in my memoir, Not Your Average American Girl. I did not identify as gay or even bisexual at the time, nonetheless I would have been discharged for my cross-dressing just as surely as I would have been (and would be today) if I began transsexual transition.

Leaving aside my not making the age requirement, I am just as capable of maintaining jet aircraft electronics today as I was thirty years ago, yet my transsexual status would prevent me from serving, just as it prevents tens of thousands (or more) transgender people who are capable of serving and who desire to serve the country they call “home.” Whether you are a transwoman, a transman or a cross-dresser of either gender, your personal life does not affect your ability to serve and therefore you should be able to.
One of the organizations that helps veteran and active duty transgender people is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) , whose stated purpose is, “to address the growing concerns of fair and equal treatment of transgender veterans and active duty service members. 

As the population of gender-different people increases, then so does the population of veterans and active duty service members who identify as such.   TAVA serves as an educational organization that will help the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense to better understand the individuals they encounter who identify as being gender-different.  As veterans, we have also served proudly, and will continue to do so.  TAVA is here to help where we can.” My friend Monica Helms is the founder and president of this organization, urges that all of our rights, LGB and T, can and should be worked on at the same time.

So, yes, let’s mark another Pride Month with more progress, but in the coming days and months and years ahead, let’s not forget the “T” when we address the issue of respect and equality for all Americans. When I took my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States back in February of 1977, that meant I was supporting and defending all of the tenets of that constitution, among them the equal rights for everybody.
"Not Your Average American Girl" by Christine Beatty is available at Amazon and http://www.glamazonpress.com .
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