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Trans Former SEAL Team 6 Member Kristin Beck Talks Chelsea Manning, Trans Troops, and Her Run for Congress: VIDEO

Beck

Kristin Beck, the former Navy Seal who was a member of the elite Seal Team 6 and came out as transgender in her book Warrior Princess in 2013, sat down with Thomas Roberts on Out There this week to discuss why she is planning to run against Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Minority Whip, in 2016. 

Beck also addressed the military's recent approval of Chelsea Manning's hormone treatment - with Beck stressing that while she supports the military's move, she continues to see Manning as more of a criminal than whistleblower (Beck has in the past called Manning "a traitor to me personally").

Later, Beck was asked to give her thoughts on Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's statement earlier this week that transgender troops should be allowed to serve.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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.


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...

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Trans-Rights Activists Expect Swift Change on Military Service

RobinsonThough significant inroads have been made with lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the U.S. military, there are still no technical protections on the books for service members who identify as transgender. Advocates like Allyson Robinson, however, are confident that the organizations like the Air Force are primed to set off a new trend in light of comments made by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. Earlier this month Secretary James encouraged a review of the Air Force’s current policies that prohibit transgender members from serving:

“I would be shocked if Secretary Hagel doesn’t take just a moment in the weeks that he has left in office to make good on a promise that he made to the troops. He needs to order the review,” said Robinson. “We have their commitment to do that — we have the commitment of Secretary Hagel himself to review these policies. And, I should add, I am aware, from my conversations with leaders at the Pentagon, that the secretary views this, views those words, as a promise, as a commitment to the service members.”

Officially the White House has yet to release a position on whether or not trans-identified individuals are welcomed in the armed forces. When asked however, spokespeople for the White House pointed Buzzfeed to the Department of Defense.

“I can confirm that for you that no review of the department’s policy has been ordered,” asserted Pentagon spokesman Nate Christensen. He later guided the press to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s comments to The Washington Post this past May on Private Chelsea Manning in reference to his current thinking on the trans-service issue.

“I think that this period of Secretary Hagel — sort of, lame-duck period — represents that best opportunity that we’ve had so far to get [significant change] done,” Robinson explained, pointing to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s action on same-sex benefits at the end of his military career.

“He did that, I think primarily, because he felt it was his responsibility to take care of his troops. He also did it out of a sense of collegiality to the person who was going to follow him. He took, what were seen by some as difficult or contentious issues, and took them off the table so that his successor would be able to start with a clean slate.”


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.”


MSNBC Profiles Trans Minister and Former Outserve_SLDN Director Allyson Robinson: VIDEO

Robinson

Allyson Robinson, the former executive director of Outserve_SLDN who became one fo the few openly trans pastors in the U.S. when she was ordained in July at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., is speaking out about her journey to personal and spiritual fulfilment in a new profile video for MSNBC.

Said Robinson:

What I see happening in the church today is a restoration of balance - and that radical welcome, those open arms being given, restored to their proper place in the expression of God's people in the world...if you want to know what the future of the kingdom of God on Earth lookls like, it looks like more of this. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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