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These are their stories
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/11/2021 11:09:00

Good Morning.

We all know the acronym. "LGBTQ". Even on our side of the house, it's sometimes all too easy to disassociate the person from the acronym. If I have my labels right, as a cisgender heterosexual male, it would be all to easy for me to dismiss those different from me. But I choose not to. You're probably aware that one of my oldest friends is gay; he stood for me as my best man 25 summers ago with hardly an eyebrow raised.

Another longtime friend recently came out as transgender: Once Chuck, he is now Cheryl, and has actually walked away from much of a former life, although still retaining a new presence on facebook. There was little backlash there as well - despite his former existence serving as a nationally-prominent leader in a well-known youth group.


In any case - much political hay has been made over the last few years. Most of it by the previous maladministration, who took a perverse joy in marginalizing and de-humanizing an entire class of people. This is how fascism works; a second term of that disaster may very well have led to "re-education camps", if they got their way. But one must ask the question...why?

Although President Biden has rapidly reversed some policies of the previous four years, the fallout and damages still remain. The question for us, is as a society, can we move on and attempt to heal the damage? Or do enough so-called "Americans" want to continue down the dark path we have already taken the first few halting steps on?


PHOENIX – The status of transgender members of the armed forces has shifted dramatically in the past decade as President Joe Biden and his two predecessors issued conflicting orders defining and redefining the eligibility of transgender Americans to serve their country.

Five days after taking office in January, Biden signed an order to reinstate transgender servicemembers, reversing the Donald Trump’s 2019 order, which effectively banned transgender individuals from service. It was just one of a number of Biden reversals of Trump-era rules, the most recent coming Monday when the Department of Health and Human Services said it would again include gender identity as protected by anti-discrimination laws when it comes to delivery of health care.

The Trump administration’s order on military service was a reversal that would have blocked enlistment and expelled service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and any transgender medical procedures, such as hormones.

According to Palm Center, an independent research institute, Trump’s ban was similar to the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy President Bill Clinton put into place in 1994 to address gays and lesbians in the armed forces. The Obama administration repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011, allowing “gay and lesbian” individuals to serve openly.

Although Trump enforced a ban that was not as explicit as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” it was set up in a way to weed out those in the military who don’t identify with their gender assigned at birth.

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, about 15,500 people in the U.S. military, reserves or National Guard openly identify as transgender, and about 134,000 veterans identify as transgender.

Cronkite News spoke to five transgender veterans in Arizona to gain perspective on what it meant to serve in the military and witness the shifts in how their identities are viewed by the commander in chief. Some reported loss of status and military benefits because of their sexuality, and others reported traumatic experiences while in service, including sexual assault.


Here is part of one story. It's well worth your time to click on the link and read more.


Danielle Lynch of Scottsdale
“Why not use the military as a place for trans people to get an education or work and do a job that’s necessary for the functioning of our nation?”

Danielle Lynch was 23 when she joined the Navy in hopes of supporting her spouse and first child. At the time, she identified as a man. She excelled in coursework and distinguished herself at the Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago.

“And so my classmates started coming to me every time we would finish a test. After I would finish I would go downstairs and they’re finished. What’d you get for number 18, what’d you get for number 15?”

Depending on the answer Lynch calculated, her classmates would know whether they got the question right or wrong.

After her Navy schooling, Lynch spent four of her six years in the military on the USS Hué City. She says she is most proud of the time she spent as combat systems officer of the watch, responsible for the maintenance of the ship’s weaponry. Her rank was a petty officer second class, but she says the other officers received greater pay than she did.

“This kind of environment for me it just wasn’t good at the time … my transness maybe at the time may have lent itself to me being unhappy … especially being aboard a ship with nothing but men,” Lynch said. “I really wanted to be able to have the option to experiment with my own self, and be able to potentially have the life that I want to live. And I knew that in the military, there’s absolutely no way that I could do that.”

Lynch left the military in 1997 to pursue a job with Intel, where she is now a quality reliability research and development engineer.

Twelve years after joining Intel, Lynch, then 40, decided she wanted to transition. When she was younger, she had thoughts of wanting to be a female, but it was an idea that had not yet become reality. In part, she struggled to find representation or guidance in the way trans people were depicted.

“There were so many TV shows, like Jerry Springer and those kinds of (shows), you know, like, that really sensationalized trans people,” Lynch said. “I always looked at those and thought, you know, maybe that’s not what I am, then I think when I was younger … that’s a possibility, like, that’s what I could be. But then after I saw these shows that kind of depicted them as these crazy people … and characters or stereotypes. I’m like, well, that’s not me.”

When the Trump administration officials enacted the ban, Lynch said, they were projecting their own feelings of transgender individuals rather than using data.

“They’re trying to use feelings and religion to discount the experiences of trans people or prevent them from being home, basically, some people want to serve in the military. And some people, you know, maybe who have already come out or came out at an earlier age, might need the military to get that kind of a background in education, like I did.”

Lynch is grateful for the reversal of the ban, but she hopes that future administrations continue to be pro-transgender.

“I worry that you know, in three-and-a-half years or what have you, that we’re going to elect somebody that isn’t as pro-trans as what we have now and they’re going to flip-flop back the other way and ban it again.”



 

8 comments (Latest Comment: 05/11/2021 15:40:07 by wickedpam)
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