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

Military Continues To Dismiss Transgender Service Members: Video

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The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2011 may have eliminated the discriminatory military policy for gays, lesbians and bisexuals, but not for everyone in the LGBT community. Sadly, transgender service members can still be dismissed from the armed forces.

The Washington Post reports:

Transgender service members can still be dismissed from the force without question, the result of a decades-old policy that dates back to an era when gender nonconformity was widely seen as a mental illness.

The policy, however, is now coming under scrutiny as service members like Wilson become more visible. Transgender service members are increasingly undergoing procedures to align their bodies more closely with the genders with which they identify. Medical experts, meanwhile, are urging the Defense Department to rescind a policy they view as discriminatory and outdated, noting that some of America’s closest allies, including Canada, Britain and Australia, have done so seamlessly.

Although the American Psychiatric Association revised its manual last year to indicate gender nonconformity is “not in itself a mental disorder,” the Defense Department relies on guidelines that describe transgender individuals as sexual deviants, and their condition as a “paraphilia.” Thousands of transgender men and women are now serving in the military while remaining in the closet, according to studies.

Some background on how activists approached the fight to repeal DADT several years ago:

Although transgender service members were avid supporters of the repeal, activists who led the effort were careful not to inject the plight of transgender service members into the debate.

“There was a certain reticence to discuss it in any official way with stakeholders for fear of complicating the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said Allyson Robinson, a former Army officer and transgender activist. “There was a very clear awareness among all the organizations that worked on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that this issue was going to remain outstanding.”

While it's estimated that approximately 140,000 transgender people have at one point served in the U.S. military, no statistics are available on the number dismissed from the military.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, said the Defense Department does not know how many service members have been discharged for being transgender. She said the Pentagon has no plan to change its medical qualification standards based on the changes to the psychiatric association’s entry on gender disorder, but she noted that medical policies are being constantly reviewed.

AFTER THE JUMP, watch a Washington Post news segment about Landon Wilson, a 24-year-old transgender service member who was dismissed from the military just last month.

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Comments

  1. DADT was sexuality-driven, not gender-self-identity driven. I'm not sure why this isn't a basic understanding among the T's of LGBT service members.

    If the rest of the civilian world has SOME issues with transgender people, then the military is going to have gargantuan issues with it.

    While I'm not advocating that these people disappear or give up, it seems odd to me that they expect the world, especially the military world, to easily overlook or easily accept something as big as changing one's gender.

    Considering the problems the military had simply allowing women to serve, it should go without saying that they're going to be less than comfortable accepting that their soldiers might switch genders prior or during their years of service. That particular dog is not going to allow the tail to wag it.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 29, 2014 7:59:21 AM


  2. PS: The obvious (to me) plight of transgender service members is that they joined the service.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 29, 2014 8:00:26 AM


  3. I'm sure the DOD does not want to be on the hook for hormone therapy, sex change operations, boob jobs, etc. which is what they are now demanding in institutions like prisons.

    Posted by: Little Twatti | Apr 29, 2014 8:49:00 AM


  4. I think the LGB community should assist those T servicepeople who identify as LGB.

    The straight identifying T people do not need our support as they have nothing to do with us.

    Posted by: MaryM | Apr 29, 2014 10:14:29 AM


  5. Welcome trolls and ignoramuses, another thread about the dreaded T!!!

    Posted by: Andrea | Apr 29, 2014 10:57:36 AM


  6. @Johnny "PS: The obvious (to me) plight of transgender service members is that they joined the service."

    I served in the Navy under DADT. At the time, people were saying the same thing about gay service members. It was disrespectful then, and it's disrespectful now.

    @Little Twatti: We provide all kinds of medical care to active duty service members around the world. Hormone therapy is relatively straightforward compared to, say, treatment for HIV, or substance addiction; or pain management...all of which are available for both service members and veterans. The sailor in this story was paying for his own hormones anyway.

    Posted by: Steven H | Apr 29, 2014 11:08:45 AM


  7. @Johnny "PS: The obvious (to me) plight of transgender service members is that they joined the service."

    I served in the Navy under DADT. At the time, people were saying the same thing about gay service members. It was disrespectful then, and it's disrespectful now.

    @Little Twatti: We provide all kinds of medical care to active duty service members around the world. Hormone therapy is relatively straightforward compared to, say, treatment for HIV, or substance addiction; or pain management...all of which are available for both service members and veterans. The sailor in this story was paying for his own hormones anyway.

    Posted by: Steven H | Apr 29, 2014 11:08:45 AM


  8. @Steven:

    Sorry, but I'm not on the train that says gender identity issues are on par with sexuality issues.

    Two TOTALLY different things in my book, especially considering that MOST transgender people stay with the same sexual preference once they cross over to their inner selves, so they don't even have sexuality issues.

    Instead of knee-jerk reacting to what I'm saying as discriminatory, look at the logic of gender issues vs. sexuality issues. They are VERY different.

    It's getting to the point where we're not allowed to say ANYTHING even slightly negative about transgender things lest we be painted with the bigot brush and that's simply not the case.

    What I stated was the truth and it's not ignorance or bigtory, it's just an opinion based on facts. If you want to lump gender issues in with LGB issues, that's fine, but don't expect everyone to agree with you.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 29, 2014 3:45:09 PM


  9. People. We (Ls, Gs, Bs, and Ts) are just "the queers" to the people who don't like us and don't understand us. We're stronger standing together than apart. Going on about how the issues are different is nitpicking and misses the point. The basic question is: why is it okay to discriminate against the Ts if it's not okay to discriminate against the Ls, Gs, and Bs? If your answer is, "It's not okay," then stop insisting that we separate these issues. They're all related because 1.) the straight world lumps us all together anyway and 2.) there is tremendous overlap in terms of WHO faces these issues in their lives.

    Posted by: fedorajoe | Apr 29, 2014 9:47:28 PM


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