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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...

Continue reading "MSNBC Profiles Trans Minister and Former Outserve_SLDN Director Allyson Robinson: VIDEO" »


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 " »


Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - VIDEO

LGBT advocate and army veteran Allyson Robinson became one of the few openly transgender pastors in the U.S. when she was ordained last month at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., reports Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

6a00d8341c730253ef019103bcd4ff970c-800wiSharon Groves, HRC’s Director of Religion and Faith Program, said:

"We at HRC who have had the privilege of working with her for years are excited to see her gifts put to good use at Calvary Baptist Church.

"Allyson Robinson is a born preacher and pastor who inspires everyone she meets. I have had the privilege of working closely with her and with Calvary Baptist Church, which is leading to new conversations among Baptists and all people of faith. Together they are one powerful combination.  

"As summer comes to an end and families are coming back to church after their summer break, they would do well to check out the prophetic ministry happening at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C."

Last year, Robinson featured in and acted as a consultant on web-funded series TransMilitary, which focused on the unique struggles of transgender service members on active duty. She was the first transgender leader of a national LGBT rights organization until she was asked last year to resign as executive director of LGBT military group Outserve_SLDN.

Robinson is also founder of boutique consulting firm Warrior Poet Strategies and Vice President at LGBT Tech Partnership.

Watch Allyson speak about her transgender journey at a TedX talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - 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


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