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Nancy Pelosi Comes Out In Support of a Trans-Inclusive U.S. Military

PelosiNancy Pelosi has officially come out in support of a trans-inclusive U.S. military. Currently transgender people are barred from enlisting in accordance with Instruction 6130.03, a DoD rule that lists “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as change of sex [and] hermaphroditism,” as justification to turn away able-bodied perspective soldiers.

“Leader Pelosi believes there is no place for discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, including on the basis of gender identity," Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill stated to the Washington Blade.

While gays and lesbians have been able to serve openly in the wake of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” being repealed, transgender individuals are still constrained by a set of archaic provisions rooted in homophobia and trans-exclusion. Though the Obama Administration has expressed its support for an eventual review of the current DoD provisions, progress on the trans-issue has been non-existent.

"Leader Pelosi is correct of course,” agreed Executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality Mara Kiesling. “The outdated, discriminatory ban on open trans service is bad for trans people, bad for military readiness, and bad for America. We are 100 percent confident that open trans military service is as inevitable as the military bureaucracy that seems to have stalled progress once again.”


Newly Released Documents Reveal Bill Clinton and Colin Powell's 1993 Talk on Gays in the Military

Clinton_powell

A series of previously-secret files detailing the inner workings of the Clinton Administration were released Friday - including an account of a pivotal January 1993 meeting between Al Gore, Bill Clinton, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell and others about the role of gays in the military. 

Clinton, who had campaigned on a pledge to end the ban on military service by gays and lesbians, faced stiff opposition by numerous military leaders at the meeting, Politico reports:

Powell said he was making “no moral judgment” on gays but believed “they can best serve in other areas.”

Clinton told the chiefs: “The whole thing on both sides cause[s] me great discom[fort]. Men and women who [are] patriotic [and] served w/ dist[inction are] otherwise highly conformist pers[onally] in [the] best sense…[I] believe some are born gay and others not. [The] job of soc[iety] is not to disc[riminate] on [the] basis of moral judgement. [It’s my] belief gay friends should be able to serve.”

MundyClinton heard strong disagreement from Powell and the other chiefs. Marine Commandant Gen. Carl Mundy [right] may have been the most strident opponent of allowing gays to serve openly. Quoting someone involved in a Queer Nation parade, Mundy said people associated with “gay pride” are licentious and unconstrained by law or morality. Mundy, who died earlier this year, also suggested that announcing “I’m gay” was the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist,” the notes show.

The notes also describe a separate meeting in which top officials discussed Mundy's malicious comments.

“When I heard [the] Marine Gen[eral] I just said—I have to give my own view,” Clinton said. “Al really helped.”

Gore added that he thought Mundy was “borderline in his presentation,” especially when he compared gays to Nazis.

Clinton did not agree with Gore that Mundy’s remarks were out of line, the notes say, adding that he thought the Marine commandant “meant it well.”

When asked about Mundy's now public comments, Powell told Politico, “Carl Mundy who died recently was the most outspoken, but I don’t think that he crossed a line, nor has that ever been mentioned to me.”

Head over to Politico HERE for a more thorough breakdown of the behind-the-scenes lead-up to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. 


ACLU Sues Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel On Behalf Of Chelsea Manning, Alleges Improper Gender Treatment: READ

Chelsea

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel alleging the DOD and top officials have provided improper treatment for Manning's gender dysphoria. Currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Manning insists she has received only "lip service" in response to her requests for proper medical treatment. BuzzFeed reports:

The suit alleges that such medical care has been withheld from Manning even though military doctors themselves diagnosed her with the condition, which attorneys say is a constitutional violation.

As a part of the suit, the ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction demanding officials grant Manning with appropriate hormone therapy, the ability to follow female grooming standards, and access to medical providers who are qualified to treat patients with gender dysphoria.

“The government continues to deny Ms. Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning’s case, in a statement. “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”

Previously, the ACLU promised it would take legal action against the U.S. military if Manning did not receive proper medical treatment. 

Read the ACLU's suit against Hagel, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "ACLU Sues Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel On Behalf Of Chelsea Manning, Alleges Improper Gender Treatment: READ " »


Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO

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At a televised news conference yesterday, Navy officer Mauricio Ruiz, 24, became the first member of the Chilean military to come out as gay.

Equally as groundbreaking was the fact that Ruiz' announcement came with the full backing of the Chilean armed forces.  

BBC reports:

Ruiz2"We can do anything, be marines or in any branch (of the military). We can do whatever profession, and we deserve as much respect as anyone else," he told reporters in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

"In life there's nothing better than to be yourself, to be authentic, to look at people in the eye and for those people to know who you are."

Rolando Jimenez, president of Chile's Movement for Integration and Homosexual Liberation, expressed his gratitude to the Chilean Navy.

"(The Navy is) telling the country and the members of the institution particularly that it is possible for gays and lesbians to be part of the armed forces and that they aren't going to suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation within these institutions," Mr Jimenez said.

Watch a Spanish-language report on Ruiz' announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Chile remains a highly conservative, Catholic country - where even divorce wasn't allowed until 2004. And despite a 2012 law aimed at combating anti-gay discrimination and hate crimes, LGBT individuals continue to face prejudice and unequal treatment under the law. 

A law governing same-sex unions is currently being debated, with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet coming out in favor of marriage equality despite a majority of Chileans opposing the idea. 

Continue reading "Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO" »


Chelsea Manning Says Military Is Still Denying Her Gender Reassignment Treatment

Manning

Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has released a statement from prison saying that the military has given her nothing but "lip service" regarding the gender-reassignment treatment that she asked for this time last year. 

NBC News reports:

In an exclusive statement to NBC News, the former Army private once known as Bradley Manning said life in the military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has restricted her ability to express her gender identity. "For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff. Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin."

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. Manning's lawyers, however, have said that the military has failed to carry out Hagel's recommendations. Her lawyers announced last week that they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide manning with treatment by September 4. 

Read Manning's statement HERE


Lambda Legal Sues For Unconstitutional Deprivation Of Veterans Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses

VA

Lambda Legal has filed suit against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the American Military Partner Association, an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting partners and spouses of LGBT troops and veterans.

Lambda argues that the denial of benefits to same-sex spouses of veterans living in states that refuse to recognize their marriages violates the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The petition argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of DOMA specifically flagged as unconstitutional the deprivation of veterans benefits to same-sex spouses.

The petition further states:

“Having weathered the federal government’s past, longstanding discrimination against them, lesbian and gay veterans and their families find themselves once again deprived of equal rights and earned benefits by the government they served and the nation for which they sacrificed.”

Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal, said:

“Gay and lesbian veterans have served their country and risked the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their duty to this nation. Married veterans and their spouses, wherever they live, need critical veterans benefits, earned through years of often perilous service, to take care of their families. No member of our community should be left behind just because their home state continues to discriminate against their marriage.”

Read the petition HERE.


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