Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hub




The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Transgender Troops In The Military

Kristin Beck

As the memory of Don't Ask, Don't Tell begins to fade from the public's mind, one group continues to feel the sting of being forced to serve in silence: transgender troops.

While numerous military officials and politicians claim to embrace the LGBT community, oftentimes these individuals are tacitly omitting the 'T' from discussion. In the military, coming out as transgender still disqualifies you for service, a subject that USA Today tackles in a new article on the issue:

"I was at the Pentagon when Secretary Hagel was saying we're here to celebrate LGBT service," says a transgender Army sergeant who joined the Army as a woman. The sergeant spoke on condition of anonymity to stay in the service.

"I'm kind of looking around for the rest of Ts," the soldier says, referring to transgender troops. Other troops could celebrate marriage equality, the sergeant says, but not the transsexuals.

Transgender pride extends to Defense Department civilian employees such as Amanda Simpson, a senior Army official. Simpson, named to her post by President Obama, is the highest-ranking openly transgender official. She declined to comment for this story.

That pride stops with troops transitioning to the opposite sex.

For now, the Pentagon has no plans to cross that line, says Navy Lt. Cdr. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman. They're medically disqualified, according to Pentagon regulations. Army regulations, for instance, prohibit transvestism.

Because of the current DADT policy, it is unknown how many transgender troops are serving in the military. About 700,000 Americans (0.3% of the total population) are transgender, according to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Regardless of the number, transgender advocates such as Mara Keisling with the National Center for Transgender Equality, say that the only thing that should matter to the military is the ability for troops to do their job effectively. 

Last month, former Navy SEAL Team 6 member Chris Beck revealed in a memoir Warrior Princess that he had become Kristin Beck, a woman. Beck says that the Pentagon should act soon to include transgender troops in its ranks or risk having the policy dictated by Congress or the courts. "It should not be emotional," Beck says. "It needs to be well thought out."

Previously, "Kristen Beck, Transgender Former Navy Seal, Gives Powerful Interview to Anderson Cooper: VIDEO" [tlrd]


U.S. Service Members in Kandahar, Afghanistan Observe First LGBT Pride Event in Deployed Environment: VIDEO

Kandahar

The Department of Defense released an historic video today:

Service members deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan observe the 1st Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Pride Event in a deployed environment. Service members discuss what pride means, what they hope to accomplish, and why it is important to fight for equality.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Service Members in Kandahar, Afghanistan Observe First LGBT Pride Event in Deployed Environment: VIDEO" »


News: HIV, DADT, Brazil, Johnny Hazzard, Idaho

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d HIV infection in gay men aged between 25 and 34 in Ireland up sharply.

Dadt6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d New York Congressman will work to introduce a bill that gives medical benefits to military service men and women dishonorably discharged under DADT. 

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Anderson Cooper's partner Benjamin Maisani expands his business ventures into Hell's Kitchen: "Mr. Maisani and Pablo Raimondi, his business partner, will be teaming up together to open the 5,000-square-foot restaurant at 753 Ninth Avenue. The pair specifically sought after a location in the Hell’s Kitchen and Clinton area, likely because of the prominent gay community."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ouch: Super-sized mosquitoes spotted in Florida.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Google buys mapping app Waze for $1.3 billion.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli advocates for LGBT rights - in front of a urinal.

Hazzard6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Gay porn star Johnny Hazzard on the spate of deaths in the gay porn world: "How did I survive? We all faced the same challenges, so why am I still here when my friends are not? Even after taking days to think about it, I still can't totally explain why I survived. Maybe it's because my family supported me, or maybe it's because I made good or lucky choices." 

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ian Ziering made his Chippendales debut last night.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Anti-gay evangelical Christians grabbing more political power in Brazil: "Gay activism is moral garbage,” Malafaia roared into the microphone to a cheering crowd on the grassy esplanade of the Brazilian capital. “Satan will not destroy our family values."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Patrick Schwarzenegger pumps up for summer.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho passes anti-discrimination law: "The majority of the council said it felt compelled to protect all of its citizens and that by adopting the ordinance, it would ensure people who otherwise aren’t protected by state or federal laws would be protected inside the city."


Famous Gay Marine Pops the Question: Video

Marines

Brandon Morgan, the marine whose homecoming put the internet in a tizzy early last year, popped the question to his boyfriend. 

Watch his boyfriend's response AFTER THE JUMP...

Morgan

Continue reading "Famous Gay Marine Pops the Question: Video" »


Activists Arrested in White House 'DADT' Protest Reunited This Morning in Support of Lt. Dan Choi: PHOTO

Activists_choi
(image robin mcgehee facebook)

Powerful pictures from in front of the White House this morning as the 13 activists arrested on November 15, 2010 after chaining themselves to the White House fence in opposition of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' reunited in support of Lt. Dan Choi, who faces a judge this morning.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

Lt. Dan Choi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Cadet Mara Boyd, Michael Bedwell, Scott Wooledge, Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder, Robin McGehee, and Spc. Robert Smith are the 'White House 13' members pictured in these photos, posted to Facebook by McGehee, along with additional supporters. They then marched to an 8 am rally in front of the courthouse

Said Thomas when asked why she chose to attend Choi's trial, via press release:

"Dan is an honorable combat veteran who, when our nation came calling, stood the ground for many Americans, and not once did he ask them what was their ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. I truly believe that he knows and practices that all humans are of value, and that all humans are made in the image of God. As a minister for the Century Project Veterans, I stand behind him as a person of God knowing that he exemplifies the true meaning of 'Love Thy Neighbor.'"

Wh_choi


Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO

Choi

Lt. Dan Choi's trial, which began in August 2011 for protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with 12 other activists on November 14, 2010, resumes on Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C.

Choi and the others chained themselves to the White House fence while chanting "I am somebody," "We do this for you" and "President Obama, Silent Homophobia."

Choi faces 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations. The 12 other activists accepted a plea deal, agreeing to a guilty plea in federal court for which they would serve no jail time if not re-arrested within four months. Choi would not accept the deal.

TatchellBritish activist Peter Tatchell is coming to Washington D.C. in support of Choi, attending the trial as a human rights observer.

Said Tatchell in a press release:

Generally, White House protestors are arrested and required to pay $100 fine to a municipal court, the equivalent of a parking ticket in the District of Columbia. Instead, in this case, the US Attorney’s Office is invoking a seldom-used federal level criminal charge called "Failure to Obey".

Choi’s case is the first time since anti-Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan was prosecuted, that a protestor has been tried federally for demonstrating at the White House. 

The trial Judge, John M. Facciola, has already made a prima facie finding for "vindictive prosecution" in Lt. Choi’s case, prompting the prosecution to make legal history by pausing the trial for two years and embroiling Lt. Choi in a Writ of Mandamus fight.

Until this trial, such a radical and rarely used writ has never been granted in the middle of criminal proceedings. The writ orders the trial judge not to hear evidence concerning the selective prosecution and political targeting of the defendant.

Activists and supporters are planning peaceful actions in support of Choi on Thursday morning beginning with a meditation and interfaith prayer at 8 am and a speaking rally. Organizers report that several civil rights leaders will be on hand to voice support for Choi's efforts. The trial resumes at 9 am. Those wishing to support Choi should gather at:

United States District Court 
E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse 
333 Constitution Avenue, NW

You can also find out how to get involved to support Choi at the website DADTprotest.com.

Choi talks about where he is in his case with Adam Kokesh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Wh_choi

Continue reading "Lt. Dan Choi's Trial to Resume; 'DADT' Activist Could Get 6 Months Jail for Peaceful White House Protest: VIDEO" »


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