Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Transgender

Transgender DADT Protester Autumn Sandeen Called 'It', 'Shim', 'Impersonator' by Federal Law Enforcement


Autumn Sandeen, First Class Petty Officer who retired in 2000 from the U.S. Navy after twenty years of service, was one of the protesters arrested at last week's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" action in front of the White House. 

Sandeen2In a post on Pam's House Blend, Sandeen discusses the slurs she endured as a transgender woman during her processing:

President Obama, U.S Marshals processed me into the DC Superior Courthouse. Apparently, these federal officers thought it was humorous that I, as a uniformed transgender veteran, was being processed into this U.S. Government facility. Many of them were pointing and laughing at me. The one caucasian, female U.S. Marshal who had her curly blond hair up in a bun -- dressed in a fuchsia, lightly ruffled blouse, a black blazer and slacks--kept raising her fist up and yelling out "Go Navy."

My peer female protesters -- Cadet Mara Boyd, and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas -- were in a holding cell behind the U.S. Marshal's station. They heard that same U.S. Marshal in the fuchsia blouse state the following to one of her peer officers (emphasis added):

"Did you see it? The nerve of it to be wearing a Navy uniform. Did you see the shim in the Navy Uniform?"

Calling transgender people "it" is clearly a way of dehumanizing transgender people. "Shim" -- a term relative to "she-male" -- is also a dehumanizing term to identify transgender people. President Obama, your U.S. Marshal calling me "it" and "the shim" is the equivalent to calling an African-American by the n-word, or calling a Gay-American by the antigay f-word, it is absolutely unacceptable.

I believe the behavior of your U.S. Marshal's sent the message to the prisoners that your representatives wouldn't protect me if these prisoners had sought to physically harm me -- because I was a less than human, a "shim." At no time did any officer correct or dissuade any of the other officers from such offensive behaviors. In fact, they seemed to feel comfortable in doing so around each other, even in front of other prisoners.

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  1. It is sad what they did to this patriot. Thank you Mr. President for setting htis in motion by not keeping your DADT promise.

    Posted by: Rann | Apr 26, 2010 2:36:58 PM

  2. They used the term "Shim" on 30 Rock last Thursday.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 26, 2010 2:37:01 PM

  3. I'm proud of Ms. Sandeen for standing up for me and my community.

    I can't wait to see Obama do absolutely nothing about this!

    Posted by: Eric | Apr 26, 2010 2:44:12 PM

  4. This "change" is really working out great for us, isn't it? Thanks Obama!

    Posted by: Major707 | Apr 26, 2010 2:52:09 PM

  5. it's not surprising in the least that she would be treated like this. Just wait another 1/2 hour in this comments section. Even gay individuals discriminate against the transexual community. the comments I've read here, at Towleroad's comment section in the past, make me sick to my stomach. If WE don't have respect for everyone in this world, why should we expect 'them' to have any respect either?

    Posted by: casey | Apr 26, 2010 3:45:40 PM

  6. This incident underscores the fact that there is a serious problem with homophobia, transphobia and misogyny in our security forces. It makes the American people less unified and the American homeland less safe. The amoral Obama administration lacks the decency to do anything about this problem; I'm afraid Ms. Sandeen's letter will fall on deaf ears. However, I salute her service, her heroism and her dignity in the face of boorish ignorance.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Apr 26, 2010 4:12:21 PM

  7. If it is acceptable for trans activists to label 99.9% of the population as "cis" without their consent, and if it is acceptable to transform gay people overnight into something called "LGBT" or "LGBTQIA" - again without their consent - then I have no problem calling trans people shim or trannies or anything else that they find offensive. The more offensive the better. That is karma.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 26, 2010 4:18:25 PM

  8. As distasteful as this claimed mistreatment was, the protest was not supposed to be all about this person - and now it is, of course.

    Posted by: niles | Apr 26, 2010 4:35:00 PM

  9. @ Bill Purdue: I was wrong. It didn't take 1/2 hour for the transphobics to show up-it took 33 minutes. FUCK YOU Purdue. You're a disgrace to humanity period.

    Posted by: casey | Apr 26, 2010 5:16:15 PM

  10. What the hell is a "cis"?

    Posted by: Gridlock | Apr 26, 2010 6:27:41 PM

  11. Shim? cough...shim?

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 26, 2010 6:35:11 PM

  12. And they are worried about how the "Gays" will behave if allowed into the military? What about how the str8 feds behaved while doing their "job." Fuck them all to hell!

    Posted by: Harry | Apr 26, 2010 7:38:29 PM

  13. @ Casey - Very well argued. Right back at ya, love.

    @ Gridlock - "Cis" is a word made up by trannie activists as a way of labeling anyone who isn't a trannie. Even though it is the height of rudeness to call a "trans" person by anything other than a term approved by them, it is apparently fine and dandy for trannies to make up words to label others w/o their consent. Just as they relabeled all of us as "LGBT" without our consent.

    I don't care so much for myself, an adult, what these trannies call me. But I care that thousands of gay boys who are struggling with their peers, parents and society to assert their identity as "real" males are now considered the equivalent of drag queens and transsexual women.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 26, 2010 8:17:41 PM

  14. What IS the official position of the Armed Forces on transgenders, anyway? DADT doesn't apply there, does it?

    Posted by: JT | Apr 26, 2010 8:39:02 PM

  15. @Bill: We understand your predicament. If your penis wasn't so tiny, you wouldn't have to expend such effort to validate yourself as a "real man." What you need to understand is that your shortcomings don't give you license to lay your shit on other people.

    Heteros don't get a pass for bashing LGBTQIAXYZs because they dislike the term "breeder" and you don't get a pass for Trans bashing just because you don't like the term "cis." Both are synonymous with "privileged class." Stop tossing your toys out of the sandbox over the fact that you aren't the most marginalized person on the planet. Grow up.

    Posted by: Please | Apr 26, 2010 9:17:48 PM

  16. @Bill: Who are you? I am sorry that you feel so "oppressed" in your gender. But calling others names won't make you any better. Maybe you should work less on being a "man" and more on being a human being. And just to say, some of us are both (Trans and gay) Who died and made you the gatekeeper of what glb folks want?

    Posted by: boohoo | Apr 26, 2010 11:22:17 PM

  17. I don't necessarily agree with Bill Perdue, but how can somebody who says "If your penis wasn't so tiny.." then advise anyone else to "grow up"?

    Posted by: JT | Apr 26, 2010 11:52:54 PM

  18. Funny that 2 of the trans commenters above have stated that I am less than human. I think that tells you something about the mindset of trans activists. If you oppose them, you are a kind of subhuman. If you insist on basic rights for yourself, such as the right not to be defined by others, then you are "privileged" and are thus open to any kind of abuse.

    These aren't the kind of people with whom we should be associating ourselves. In their moralizing, their smugness, their willingness to dehumanize, they bear a lot of similarities to the people who have been fighting against gays for 40+ years.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 26, 2010 11:59:53 PM

  19. So if someone is trans AND gay, that means the person has "transformed" to the sex the person feels was the one the person is meant to be, but also prefers the same sex (as a partner or lover) as that outcome result sex? (I'm not trying to be troublesome here...I just honestly don't know the position on that).

    Posted by: JT | Apr 27, 2010 12:03:32 AM

  20. Bill Perdue, take your entitled attitude and go shove it, it really has no place in this thread. This is about as appropriate as going on a post about a gay hate crime and calling the victim a F$ggot. Seriously take the chip on your shoulder about some people have been a mean to you and hurt your precious feelings and go deal with it on your own time.

    JT: Yes, a MtF trans woman who is attracted to women is a lesbian and visa-versa for a FtM trans guy.

    Posted by: missanthrope | Apr 27, 2010 1:52:34 AM

  21. Okay, M., thank you.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 27, 2010 2:18:20 AM

  22. how is 'cis' pronounced? like skies minus the k or sees?

    Posted by: Colin | Apr 27, 2010 2:51:43 AM

  23. BILL PERDUE - cis is the opposite of trans. As in Ceasar's time, when there was CisAlpine Gaul and TransAlpine Gaul. To say that it's "made up" is factually wrong.

    Other opposites - Left and Right. Or Homo vs Hetero. As in a Homogenous substance, or a Heterogenous substance.

    So if someone who is not transsexual objects to being called cis, that it's a word made up by "trannies", it's *exactly* like someone who's not homosexual objecting to being called hetero, and saying that it's a word made up by "homos".

    Posted by: Zoe Brain | Apr 27, 2010 2:55:20 AM

  24. @JT - no, DADT doesn't apply to Trans people. They'll still be dismissed from service even when DADT is repealed. Even though other armed forces, such as those of the UK, Canada, and Australia, allow both Gays and Trans people to serve.

    There's nothing in it for them.

    Some don't understand why someone who can't possibly benefit from removing an injustice would object to it. I can't explain it to them if they can't understand - just pity them.

    It's either GLBT or it isn't. It's why Lesbians agitate for increased funding for AIDS research, even though they're the demographic least affected by it.

    Some don't understand that either.

    Posted by: Zoe Brain | Apr 27, 2010 3:03:17 AM

  25. @Colin - cis is pronouced like cyst, only without the T. Or Sister, without the -ter.

    Other usages - CisPacific - on this side of the pacific - TransPacific - on the other side of the Pacific.

    Or in chemistry:
    "In one, the two chlorine atoms are locked on opposite sides of the double bond. This is known as the trans isomer. (trans : from latin meaning "across" - as in transatlantic).

    In the other, the two chlorine atoms are locked on the same side of the double bond. This is know as the cis isomer. (cis : from latin meaning "on this side")"

    As in cis-but-2-ene and trans-but-2-ene.

    Or in geography:
    "Cisalpine Gaul (Latin: Gallia Cisalpina, meaning "Gaul on this side of the Alps") was the Roman name for a geographical area (later a province of the Roman Republic), in the territory of modern-day northern Italy (including Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto), inhabited by the Celts."

    "The province of Gallia Transalpina (Transalpine Gaul) was later renamed Gallia Narbonensis, after its capital the Roman colony of Narbo Martius (Narbonne), founded on the coast in 118 BC. The Romans called it Provincia Nostra ("our province") or simply Provincia ("the province"), being the first significant permanent conquest outside the Italian peninsula. The name has survived in the modern French name of the region, Provence, now a région of France."

    cis- and trans- are opposites, the way that inter- (between) and intra- (within) are opposites.

    Thus there is an Internet connecting different enities, and offices, firms or government departments have Intranets for communication within the organisation.

    Posted by: Zoe Brain | Apr 27, 2010 3:18:49 AM

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