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Thread: Transgender troops say they want to serve openly

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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    Transgender troops say they want to serve openly

    I am not sure if the Navy would benefit from something like this. I was wondering what others have to say about this. I would assume that this is a little different than having homosexuals serve openly because there are more factors involved which relate to fitness for duty:


    Transgender troops say they want to serve openly



    Oct. 24, 2014 - 11:50AM |




    Transgender former Navy SEAL Senior Chief Kristin Beck speaks at a conference in Washington on Oct. 20. Transgender military personnel from 18 countries who allow them to serve openly gathered to discuss whether the U.S. military could join them. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images)


    By Patricia Kime
    Staff writer



    The landmark repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011 allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.
    Now, transgenders on active duty and veterans who have served are fighting for the same right.
    At a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20, troops and veterans who switched sexes while on active duty or afterward said transgender individuals serving in uniform should not have to hide who they are.
    Transgenders are barred from serving openly in the U.S. military by Defense Department Instruction 6130.03, which prohibits people with “current or history of psychosexual conditions, including but not limited to transexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism and other paraphilias.”

    But transgender service members who spoke at “Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe,” sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Palm Center, a California-based policy think tank, say sexual identity is neither a mental nor physical barrier to serving.

    “This change needs to happen because it benefits the military,” said Paula Neira, a former lieutenant and surface warfare officer who served in the Navy as a man from 1985 to 1991. “We accomplish the mission better, we’re more effective as a force, we have more combat efficiency if we can all be who we are ... as opposed to trying to hide, trying to fit in.”

    A March 2014 report by the Transgender Military Service Commission estimated that 15,450 transgender individuals serve in the military across all branches and all components.
    Servicemembers, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, or SPART*A, claims 300 transgender active-duty troops on its rolls and says there are roughly 134,000 transgender veterans.

    Medical concerns


    SPART*A members, including former Navy Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class Landon Wilson, are lobbying the Pentagon to change its policy. Wilson enlisted in the Navy as a woman and was serving in Hawaii when she got individual augmentation orders to Afghanistan. During pre-deployment training and leave, Wilson underwent hormone therapy at his own expense and served in the war zone as a man.
    He was monitoring a special operations mission on a video feed when a sergeant major pulled him aside to ask about his paperwork, which identified Wilson as female.
    “ ‘What are you?’ ” Wilson recalls the senior non-commissioned officer asking.
    He was sent home after being in Afghanistan for less than a month.
    “There’s not a day that passes that I don’t think about rejoining the military, so I look forward to the day I can,” Wilson said. DoD maintains that transgender*ism is a psychological and physical barrier that is incompatible with military service. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in May he believes all qualified individuals who “want to serve their country ... should have the opportunity to do so.”
    But he added that the transgender issue is “different because there are certain medical dimensions” to it.
    The transgender community cites a change last year to the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists to define mental health conditions as one of the most powerful reasons against the DoD medical argument.
    In late 2012, the American Psychiatric Association approved a revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that eliminated the term “gender identity disorder” in favor of “gender dysphoria“ to describe men and women whose biological sex conflicts with the gender in which they identify. The drop of the word “disorder” is seen by many as an acknowledgment that the condition is not pathological, and any distress or anxiety associated with gender identification issues may be related to the angst of living in a body one doesn’t believe is gender-correct and outside stressors related to the stigma of falling outside gender norms.

    'I'm still me'

    The five transgender U.S. service members who spoke at the D.C. conference — the first and largest international summit on the topic held in the U.S. — said they do not have anxiety or mental health disorders now that they have transitioned to the gender they should have been from birth.
    “I’m still me no matter what I wear — I still have the capability to kick ass,” said retired Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kristin Beck, who served 20 years in the military as Chris Beck, during which he deployed 13 times with Navy SEAL teams.

    Beck proudly wears her Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Special Warfare insignia miniatures on her civilian blazer and is the most public face of transgender military service next to Army Pvt. Bradley Manning.
    The subject of a book, “Warrior Princess,” and documentary, “Lady Valor,” Beck has been meeting with lawmakers and Pentagon officials to push for a policy change.

    “This is a personnel issue. What are NCOs, officers, Secretary Hagel supposed to be doing? They are supposed to be taking care of their people,” Beck said.

    Soon after Beck came out as a woman, Manning announced after his sentencing on espionage charges that his name was Chelsea and he planned to live at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a woman. Manning filed suit to force the government to provide hormone replacement therapy.

    Looking to leadership

    At the Washington, D.C., conference, Army Reserve Capt. Sage Fox was the only U.S. service member to appear in uniform. A signal officer, Fox returned home from deployment to Kuwait in 2012 and, while on the inactive ready reserve list, decided to divorce his wife and transition to becoming a woman.
    But Fox was recalled to active duty to undergo a medical evaluation board for an injury and surgery unrelated to her sexual reassignment. She told her unit she was in gender transition and planned to serve as a woman, which the unit initially appeared to accept.

    But after serving on active duty for several weeks, she was placed back on inactive status while the disability process played out.
    “It was devastating to me to get pushed out like that,” Fox said.
    The Pentagon has not launched a formal review of the ban on transgender service, but the Army has asked Hagel for permission to evaluate treatment options for prison inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria, DoD officials said.

    According to Beck, SPARTA met with assistant secretary-level officials on Oct. 22. A Pentagon official said the group has not met with Defense Department officials; an Army spokesman declined to confirm whether SPARTA met with Army leadership.

    Fox, who is prior-enlisted, said transgender individuals will be able to serve once leadership demands that it happen and military jobs that are now closed to women become open.
    “The attitude has to come from the leadership, from the top on down like anything else. And once we gender-neutralize everything ... for positions, MOS, etc., the issue is going to go away,” Fox said.






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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Male and female is determined genetically by chromosome. If one has a Y chromosome, they are male.

    A male "feeling" as if they are female is no different than a white guy "feeling" that he is a black guy. Genes are genes. The military does not need to deal with this mental instability. This is not homosexuality. This is not a preference on who you find attractive. Forget about all of the logistics issues...this is a sickness. If I went to the doctor and told them that I was a bird and that I believe that I was born as a bird, and I truly felt that way, I'd be on my way out the door. This is no different.

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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    I agree about that. What concerns me is the Navy has already started treating this as an equal rights issue as evidenced by the Navy's support of the LGBT Commemoration Day.
    Last edited by BURAWSKI; 10-24-2014 at 10:54 PM.

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BURAWSKI View Post
    I agree about that. What concerns me is the Navy has already started treating this as an equal rights issue as evidenced by the Navy's support of the LGBT Commenoration Day.
    As have the other services, each in their own way. They are on the bandwagon because they fear the negative PR.

    The military already discriminates in so many ways due to health, and performance, issues. There's a reason there's an age cutoff. There's a reason there are different requirements for fitness based on gender. Both are health and performance issues, just as it is with transgender. Is it discrimination? Yep. Is it justified? Yep. Should the military back down to the pressure? No, but they will because they are afraid.

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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I am afraid that eventually a catastrophy will occur because of the health and performance issues taking a back seat to the decision by the Navy to prioritize diversity at the expense of service members. Actually this has already been occuring in the Navy Academy by their academic standards having been dropped to allow for more diverse students.
    Last edited by BURAWSKI; 10-24-2014 at 11:59 PM.

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BURAWSKI View Post
    Unfortunately I am afraid that eventually a catrosphy will occur because of the health and performance issues taking a back seat to the decision by the Navy to prioritize diversity at the expense of service members. Actually this has already been occuring in the Navy Academy by their academic standards having been dropped to allow for more diverse students.
    It's like a TV show. It doesn't matter how great or poor a show is...if there's a lack of diversity it's no good and if there is diversity it's "ground breaking".

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    And people were getting on my case for being against 'diversity just for the sake of being diverse'..

    I am glad i am no longer on active duty cause of crap like this.

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garhkal View Post
    And people were getting on my case for being against 'diversity just for the sake of being diverse'..

    I am glad i am no longer on active duty cause of crap like this.
    I definitely wouldn't get on your case about that complaint.

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    Senior Member Stalwart's Avatar
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    There are a lot of issues and considerations. Part of me knows there are good people out there who could do great things in our military. SCPO Beck (ret) demonstrates that someone who is transgendered can serve honorably (in a community that the vast majority of people in the military don't have the ability or fortitude to be in) while identifying as transgendered (granted she did not serve openly.) At the same time part of me has definite concerns about how openly transgendered service members would impact good order and discipline. But we have to be honest too ... there have always been LGBT people in the military, it was just hidden for a long, long time,

    At the same time, saying that transgendered people should not serve simply because "I don't like it" is turning us into morality police who look to impose what we like or don't on others. There are aspects of people's lives that people are not going to agree with, where should we draw the line on what is okay and not okay:

    -Should we not allow anyone to serve who has sex outside of or before marriage?
    -Should we not allow someone who has engaged in a threesome?
    -Should we not allow people who drink alcohol?
    -Should we not allow Jews? or Mormons? What about Jehovah's Witnesses?
    -Should we not allow someone whose personal sexual 'kink' I disagree with? I was an SSO twice and an SSO chief once when enlisted ... you learn a lot of weird things about people doing that job.
    Last edited by Stalwart; 10-25-2014 at 01:45 PM.
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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    There are a lot of issues and considerations. Part of me knows there are good people out there who could do great things in our military. SCPO Beck (ret) demonstrates that someone who is transgendered can serve honorably (in a community that the vast majority of people in the military don't have the ability or fortitude to be in) while identifying as transgendered (granted she did not serve openly.) At the same time part of me has definite concerns about how openly transgendered service members would impact good order and discipline. But we have to be honest too ... there have always been LGBT people in the military, it was just hidden for a long, long time,

    At the same time, saying that transgendered people should not serve simply because "I don't like it" is turning us into morality police who look to impose what we like or don't on others. There are aspects of people's lives that people are not going to agree with, where should we draw the line on what is okay and not okay:

    -Should we not allow anyone to serve who has sex outside of or before marriage?
    -Should we not allow someone who has engaged in a threesome?
    -Should we not allow people who drink alcohol?
    -Should we not allow Jews? or Mormons? What about Jehovah's Witnesses?
    -Should we not allow someone whose personal sexual 'kink' I disagree with? I was an SSO twice and an SSO chief once when enlisted ... you learn a lot of weird things about people doing that job.
    I am against the lifestyle and make no apologies for that. It doesn't seem right for those that disagree and don't condone these types of life choices are somehow made to be put on the defensive as being labeled as a non-team player, or prejudiced. Also, it is the lowering of standards that is the issue.

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