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Obama Administration: Transgender People Should Not Be Banned From Military Service

Deputy_Secretary_of_Defense_Ashton_Carter_testifies_about_the_impact_on_the_Department_of_Defense_should_the_U.S._enter_into_sequestration_during_a_hearing_before_the_Senate_Armed_Services_Committee_in_Washingt_130212-F

The Obama administration has voiced support for Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's statement that transgender people should not be automatically banned from service.

Speaking at a troop event in Kandahar, Afghanistan last Sunday, when questioned by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Ehrenfeld about his thoughts on “transgender service members serving in an austere environment like this here in Kandahar,” Carter replied: 

“And I'm very open-minded about...what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That's the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members? And I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511840fc8970c-800wiFollowing Carter's comments, BuzzFeed reports that at the White House briefing yesterday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said:

“The president agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve. And for that reason, we here at the White House welcome the comments from the secretary of defense. But in terms of — of additional steps that the Department of Defense will take to address this matter, I’d refer you to the secretary’s office.”

Ehrenfeld said that although he is pleased by the comments, he is now looking for action.

“Everyday the ban on transgender service continues, my shipmates colleagues are forced to serve alongside me in silence. I was pleased at Sec Carter’s response and am optimistic that soon this disparity in service will end. As a physician caring for transgender soldiers, the ban stands in the way of ensuring these individuals get the care they need.”

Last year, an independent panel led by former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders (above, right) and Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, recommended lifting the current ban on transgender service members.


Military Approves Chelsea Manning's Gender Reassignment Treatment

Manning

Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has secured hormone therapy for her gender-reassignment treatment, USA Today reports:

"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo. [...]

Manning sued the federal government for access to the treatment. The Army referred questions about Manning to the Department of Justice, which has been handling the case. Nicole Navas, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying the government's position is detailed in court filings.

Back in September, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on behalf of Manning. The ACLU did not have an immediate comment on the Army's memo.

The paper adds

Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, does provide the treatment for veterans.

The Army's decision means it is simply fulfilling its obligation to provide Manning with medical care, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group based in Washington. Failing to do so would be "cruel and unusual punishment," she said.

Manning is currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas after being convicted in 2013 of leaking thousand of classified military documents. 


Gay Couple Makes History With Navy's First Man-on-Man Homecoming Kiss: VIDEO

Sawicki and Brier kiss

After a seven-month WestPac deployment, the USS San Francisco (SSN 711) submarine warship returned home to Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego yesterday. With every return comes the ceremonial "first kiss" of sailors disembarking from the vessel, and Monday's kiss was particularly notable as it was the first time ever a male same-sex couple was chosen. Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Sawicki received nothing but support from his shipmates when the announcement was made that he had won the lottery, and while his boyfriend Shawn Brier was worried about screwing it up by falling into the water, the kiss went off without a hitch.

Watch an interview with the couple and peep one more picture of the kiss, AFTER THE JUMP...

NAVY

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According To Pat Robertson, Christians Are The Victims Of DADT Repeal: VIDEO

Pat Robertson

700 Club crazy person Pat Robertson has always had a tenuous grasp of reality at best, so it's little surprise that a persecution complex is rearing its head in his latest diatribe against the gays by claiming that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" actually means that now Christians in the military will have to go into hiding.

According to Robertson, military chaplains are being pressured to refrain from condemning homosexuality...which, naturally, is the oppression of religious freedom and the "muzzling" of religious leaders. 

You can watch Robertson bemoan the plight of military chaplains stripped of the power to sow dissent in the ranks AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "According To Pat Robertson, Christians Are The Victims Of DADT Repeal: VIDEO" »


MI5 Makes Stonewall's Top 10 List of Best British Workplaces For Gay Employees

Mi5logo

Just in time for the 15th anniversary of MI5’s decision to allow gay people into its ranks, the British intelligence agency has been named as one of the top 10 gay-friendly employers in the UK. The British Army, Navy and the Royal Air Force were also included in Stonewall’s annual equality index.

“It represents incredibly significant progress in a very short time,” said Stonewall spokesman Richard Lane. “I wouldn’t say I am entirely surprised by it though, because the Armed Forces have been working very hard to change the culture of their organisations. They have realised the importance of recruiting the best people for the job, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

 


75-Year-Old Trans Army Veteran Receives Medicare Funded Gender Reassignment: VIDEO

Mallon

Last May a panel of officials from the Department of Health and Human Services convened and decided that the department would, for the first time, include coverage for gender reassignment surgeries under Medicare. The decision came after Denee Mallon, a 75 year old army veteran, had her initial request to medically transition under Medicare denied. As a transwoman in her seventies, Mallon explained to the Health Department’s appeals board that she often felt as if ageism came into play when telling her story.

"When people ask if I am too old, it feels like they are implying that it's a 'waste of money' to operate at my age,” she explained. “But I could have an active life ahead of me for another 20 years."

In a recent MSNBC profile Mallon talks about her life as a transwoman seeking medical help at a time when trans-needs weren't well understood or accepted by the medical community. Like many trans-identified people, Mallon first began experiencing gender dysphoria at a relatively young age and fought to make sense of her situation for most of her life. Though she eventually came to identify as trans and sought to transition in the late-seventies, she was met with substantial social roadblocks.

Because Mallon still expressed interest in other women, her doctors reasoned, they would not approve of the surgeries they felt were elective. By the time Mallon attained the necessary doctor’s approval, she could no longer afford the surgeries. Months after the Health Department’s ruling, Mallon has finally had the surgery she’s fought for for decades.

“I feel congruent, like I’m finally one complete human being where my body matches my innermost feelings, my psyche,” she explained days after entering her post-surgery recovery. “I feel complete.”

Listen to Denee Mallon speak about her journey AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "75-Year-Old Trans Army Veteran Receives Medicare Funded Gender Reassignment: VIDEO" »


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