Revealed: the trans military members living in fear under Trump’s ban

A rich overly privileged chicken shit draft dodging douche bag shows his contempt for patriotic American Trans-Folks who volunteered serve their nation and in some cases put their bodies on the line and give their lives to serve.  That is really spitting on the troops.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/12/revealed-how-trumps-transgender-ban-has-forced-military-members-back-into-hiding

Guardian investigation finds increased hostility towards trans people who could lose everything if they are outed

by in New York
Thu 13 Jun 2019

Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military has spread a pall of fear over the 15,000 personnel it touches and emboldened hostility towards even those on the frontline of active duty, an investigation by the Guardian has found.

The ban kicked in on 12 April and, two months into its imposition, the full chilling effects are only now becoming apparent. Under its terms, trans people seeking to enlist in the military are subject to an almost total exclusion unless they keep their gender identity hidden.

Most individuals who are already serving are similarly forced to keep their true selves tightly closeted. There are exceptions, but they are narrowly defined and hard to procure.

Last week, Trump tried to justify the ban by complaining about the high costs associated with treating military personnel for gender dysphoria, the formal diagnosis when an individual’s gender is different from the one assigned to them at birth. In fact the entire medical budget for gender transition-related care is a tenth what the armed forces spend annually on Viagra and Cialis.

The US president has also blamed trans individuals for causing “tremendous disruption” within the armed forces. That conflicts with the experience of 19 countries including Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK that have allowed trans people to serve without incident.

In the US, all four military service chiefs have testified before Congress that there were no known negative effects during the three years in which President Obama opened the doors to trans people.

“The biggest impact of the ban is that we are denying ourselves future heroes. Our nation needs the best and finest to fight and win future wars and we are turning away people just because they are trans,” said Lt Col B Fram, communications director of SPART*A, an education and advocacy group representing trans service members.

The Guardian partnered with SPART*A to investigate how Trump’s ban is bearing down on trans women and men in active duty settings. Here we profile four people in the navy and air force.

All are in aircrew and at the sharp end of the US fighting machine. They are familiar with the intense sacrifices to family and self that a military career involves, and have put their lives on the line in conflict zones.

Yet they are now having to cope with severe pressures brought about by the ban. That includes mounting hostility from transphobic peers who see Trump’s move as license to taunt and ridicule, as well as the daily fear that if they are outed as trans they could lose everything.

The stakes are now so high that all four spoke to the Guardian insisting on absolute anonymity. As one of them put it: “If I were found out by even one person, that would be the end of my flying career.”

Emily Finnerty, US navy, F-18 fighter pilot, trans woman

When you meet Emily Finnerty in person, as the Guardian did recently, she comes across as more Tom Cruise than Tom Cruise. She has the same piercing gaze and verbal intensity of the Top Gun star, especially when describing the sensation of piloting an F-18 Super Hornet, the fighter jet that Cruise will fly in the sequel to the classic movie scheduled for release next year.

If Cruise’s role in Top Gun is Hollywood’s attempt to personify American military might and patriotic service, then Finnerty is the real deal. She knows what it’s like to fly at Mach speeds in that state-of-the-art $90m fighting machine. She has felt the punch in the gut when the aircraft explodes from the deck of a US navy carrier and endured the bone-crushing sustained 7.5gs of the dogfights that followed.

She is familiar with the terror and exhilaration of going zero to 160mph in two seconds. She can recall the glory of flying low through the canyons of Utah or the beauty of hugging the mountains of California. And she’s been there when training gets serious, notching up 60 combat missions in the all-too-real war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through all that, there has been the sacrifice that being on the frontlines of the US military extracts from her family and from herself. “My children didn’t know me, I was away so much. My back’s destroyed from the G-force. I’ve had near-death experiences from aircraft failure and I’ve seen friends die. But I’ve never betrayed the trust of my country and I’ve always answered the call.”

The US military has spent more than $11m in turning Finnerty from a young navy recruit over a decade ago into a lieutenant commander today. But now it is in danger of squandering every cent of that investment, by effectively valuing her as worthless.

Since the age of 10, Finnerty has secretly struggled with dysphoria. Though assigned male at birth, and presenting in public and within the navy as male, she has strong urges to transition and live authentically as a woman.
She came out to her wife and parents only a few weeks ago and is working through the trauma of that shattering revelation with her supportive family. If it is hard at home, it is far more difficult at work. Under the terms of Trump’s ban she will only be able to stay in the navy if she continues to wrap herself in a lie. She must put aside any desire to live as her authentic self and forego any medical treatment in order to present as a man and be allowed to continue to serve.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/12/revealed-how-trumps-transgender-ban-has-forced-military-members-back-into-hiding

But…but….Israeli “pinkwashing”!

Iranian FM Mohammed Javad Sarif Justifies Execution of Gay People

From Israelly Cool: https://www.israellycool.com/2019/06/13/iranian-fm-mohammed-javad-sarif-justifies-execution-of-gay-people/

By Aussie Dave
June 13, 2019

The US on Wednesday accused Iran of violating fundamental human rights after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Sarif endorsed the execution of gay people.

Sarif defended his country’s draconian policies at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran on Monday.

A reporter from German tabloid Bild asked: “Why are homosexuals executed in Iran because of their sexual orientation?”

He responded: “Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed,” after railing against human rights violations by the US and Israel.

But the real story here is the silence of most of the mainstream media, the likes of Human Rights Watch, and those who accuse Israel of “pinkwashing” because we have the audacity to treat LGBTQ well here (unlike how they treated in every other country in the Middle East).

Plus I am willing to bet if someone turned up to the DC Dyke March draped in an Iranian flag, they would not be accosted with numerous demands to remove it.

#Pride50: Alivia Stehlik — Transgender Army captain

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pride50-alivia-stehlik-transgender-army-captain-n1008006

By Julie Compton
June 3, 2019

Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik is a graduate of West Point and Army Ranger School, a former infantry platoon leader, a physical therapist and a veteran of the Afghan war. She’s also a proud transgender woman.

When Stehlik, 32, testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in February, she wanted the committee to know one thing: Living openly as a transgender woman has not affected her ability to defend her country.

“Has my transition made soldiers uncomfortable? Absolutely not,” Stehlik told the subcommittee, which at the time was considering a ban on transgender troops that officially took effect in April.

Stehlik, an Army physical therapist stationed in Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, reiterated that sentiment during an interview with NBC News.

“I went to these remote outposts with the most alpha male types that our Army has, and they were thrilled to have me and invited me back, and the fact that I was trans, they didn’t care,” she said. “They just wanted me to be competent, and I was.”

When, in 2016, the military lifted its original ban on transgender troops, Stehlik was thrilled. She transitioned in May 2017, and has lived openly as a woman ever since.

But her enthusiasm would be short lived. In April, the Pentagon implemented the Trump administration’s new policy to ban transgender troops from serving openly in the military.

While the Defense Department has said the policy is not a ban, the policy states that transgender troops cannot enlist or serve if they live openly in their preferred gender, and are disqualified if they have received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — the mismatch a trans person may feel between their gender identity and biological sex.

But soldiers like Stehlik, who transitioned before the policy took effect, are exempt from those rules.

“Why am I different?” Stehlik asked. “To me, it’s just clearly discriminatory.”

Stehlik spent a year as an infantry platoon leader in South Korea in 2009. She graduated from the Army’s physical therapy school in 2016, and deployed to Afghanistan from May 2018 to January 2019, where she provided physical therapy to combat soldiers.

She’s optimistic that the ban on trans military personnel will be lifted.

“I have zero doubt that one day this question will be settled and trans people will be a full and welcome part of the military community and of the world,” Stehlik said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pride50-alivia-stehlik-transgender-army-captain-n1008006

Fifty Years Ago

I started hormones in March of 1969.  I was already androgynous enough to be asked if I were a boy or a girl and after three months most new people I met assumed I was a girl.  Plus it was getting hard to hide my emerging  itchy boobs.

The People’s Park Riots in May had delayed my going full time. As May turned to June I stopped pretending and just started letting it happen.  Once I decided to be myself, presenting as a boy felt odd and after a few days I was just a hippie chick.  One night the people in the commune decided it was wrong to use my dead name.  They really made an effort and after a few days it became natural.

People saw how happy I was.

A week or so later Stonewall happened and a couple of weeks later I read about it in the Under Ground Press.

But mostly that summer was about being a Berkeley hippie chick.

Deserter friends split for Canada along with a boy named Morey, who I was seriously in love with.

We landed on the Moon.

I missed Woodstock but saw a bunch of other bands including the Rolling Stones in Oakland.  Skipped Altamont because I had a job and it didn’t sound like it would be much fun.

I was a hippie, not part of any trans-community, that would come later.

We have lost the words we used to describe our lives. “Hippie Chick.” The language police would mark that one out just as they would transsexual.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Joni Mitchell

The 1960s became the 1970s. Town House Explosions and Kent State. I took up with Jerry, a Marine fresh back from Vietnam and too restless angry to bother waiting for an official discharge. I was doing sex work and we were a couple straight out of the Jane Fonda/Donald Sutherland movie “Steelyard Blues.”  We were crazy brave and crazy happy.  When Jerry got busted I got him out.

I went to work with the National Transsexual Counseling Unit in SF, co-running it with Jan Maxwell.

Then in June of 1972 around the solstice I had my sex change operation.

The following year I discovered LA and Jerry and I discovered open relationships didn’t work all that well.

In 1974 I went to my first Pride Day, picked from the crowd to speak because of my work with the NTCU my connection to the LGBT world was already becoming more and more about the L-word and less and less about the T-word.  I was held by more of a sense of obligation, a need to see others pick up the work.

And the words of “The Circle Game” keep playing.  Life is like a river not a quiet lake.

By the time of the internet, long before Facebook, when Usenet and mailing lists were the hottest thing around, I realized language had changed. My experiences and memories remain mine but now I am expected to remember certain events differently and use different words to describe my life.

Somewhere during that half century I stopped feeling trans, stopped seeing others as trans.  We became just people a different kind of ordinary not defined by trans-prefixed words.

Now with marriage equality and a nearly 2 decade relationship, hair that has turned gray, I or perhaps I should say we, have joined a much broader community of Elders.  I like the word Elder better than senior citizen.

 

The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth. And That’s O.K. | NYT Celebrating Pride

In the summer of 1967 I first had sex with a man who picked  me near the subway stop at Sheridan Square.  The Stonewall didn’t exist yet but the area was known to be a gay cruising spot.

The area wasn’t the carnival of Bleeker and McDougal Streets, nor the East Village riot of St Mark’s Place.  It was mostly residential.  not far from where the Village Voice had their offices.

I hung out in the Village quite a bit during 1967, testing my wings in preparation for leaving home and coming out.

There were already gay and lesbian movements in NYC, SF and LA.  I met someone, a sister in the early stages of transition.  She told me SF was the place to be because there were trans-organizations there and doctors who would give hormone scripts.

In April of 1967 there had been the pageant in NYC that was documented in The Queen, which I posted recently.  Dr Benjamin’s book was out and available.

Fast Forward To 1969:

I was living in Berkeley and started transition, first coming out to friends.  Welfare Department Social workers were able to find people who were in turn able to refer me to a place out on Van Ness Ave called the Center for Special Problems.  They interviewed me, thought I was cute and gave me a bunch of hormones.  That was in March.

At the same time gay rights organizations had picket lines up in front of several businesses.

I took part in the People’s Park Riots in May.  I was so androgynous at that point people were struggling to figure out pronouns.  By early June I was sliding into full time and by mid-month I had stopped sliding in that direction and was full time.

Then at the end of June Stonewall happened.  We didn’t have the internet and it wasn’t reported in the mainstream but we had the underground press.  In the weeks that followed I read every article I could get my hands on in both the gay and straight underground press.

By the time Stonewall 30 rolled around it was hard to recognize the Stonewall I had read about in the summer of 1969 in the stories floated as facts.

It wasn’t about trans-folks. We have our own history.  It wasn’t particularly about people of color.  It wasn’t the Birth of the Gay Liberation Movement.

If anything it marked the end of the closet and the start of outness.  With the start of outness came a 50 year march toward being just a different kind of normal.

The first years of Pride Day were political.  Now they are more a party, a celebration of simply being ourselves.

And maybe that is really what Stonewall’s importance is.  A punctuation point, the start of a new chapter or a volume 2 of a series of books.

Who knows maybe a celebration is more appropriate than those who want Pride Day to be political.

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The Unholy Alliance of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and the Right Wing

From Jezebel:  https://jezebel.com/the-unholy-alliance-of-trans-exclusionary-radical-femin-1834120309

Esther Wang
05/09/19

In April, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the latest iteration of the Equality Act, federal legislation that would enshrine sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under federal civil rights law. Support for the Equality Act, first introduced in its current form in 2015 by Representative David Cicilline, has grown to encompass high profile Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who said in 2016 that passing the Equality Act would be her “highest priority” if elected, as well as corporate behemoths like Apple, Google, and Nike. With the fight to legalize gay marriage won, groups like the Human Rights Campaign have thrown weight behind the passage of the Act.

Included on the Judiciary Committee’s speakers list was Julia Beck, a 26-year-old lesbian, self-described radical feminist, and a member of the group Women’s Liberation Front, or WoLF. But Beck was not there to testify in support of the Equality Act. Invited by Republican members of the committee, she was there to decry the protections that it would provide trans women. “If the act passes in its current form as HR5, then every right that women have fought for will cease to exist,” Beck asserted.

Beck is the latest trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or TERF, to become the darling of right-wing media and conservative politicians who, in recent years, have cloaked their transphobia by embracing the talking points of radical feminists like Beck. These seemingly odd bedfellows united publicly during the Equality Act hearing, where Republicans like Doug Collins and Louie Gohmert voiced their opposition to the Act in the name of women’s rights. The Equality Act, Gohmert said, represented “a war on women that should not be allowed.” Collins, an opponent of gay marriage and abortion rights, spoke approvingly of WoLF, before charging that the bill’s protections of trans people “would demolish the hard-won rights of women, putting them once again at the mercy of any biological man who identifies at any moment as a woman.”

TERF ideology at its core is simple and bigoted: trans women are not women, and their demand for inclusion, and even their very existence, is a danger to women. Beck and others like her are not a new phenomenon—while the term TERF dates to 2008, their ideological underpinnings go at least as far back as the 1960s, to the advent of the women’s liberation movement and in particular to a strain of political lesbianism that staunchly advocated for separatism.

Recently, Beck has become one of the most prominent and recognizable figures in the movement. At the end of 2018, she was kicked off of the Baltimore mayor’s LGBTQ Commission over her belief that trans women are not women, making her, in her words, the “most hated lesbian in Baltimore.” Shortly after, she appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to discuss her ouster from the commission and to reiterate her claim that trans women threaten the safety of what she terms “biological females.”

“When we get down to it, women and girls all share a biological reality,” she told a sympathetic Carlson. “We are all female. But if any man, if any male person can call himself a woman or legally identify as female, then predatory men will do so in order to gain access to women’s single-sex spaces, and this puts every woman and girl at risk.”

The April hearing for the Equality Act was the second time in as many months Beck has testified before Congress—in March, Collins invited her to speak at a hearing on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), where she had again repeated her belief that including trans women under its protections would, in fact, harm women. “VAWA was created for women and girls. Not for those who feel like or identify as female,” Beck stated.

Beck’s ideology has found a natural home in WoLF. Founded in 2014, the organization, in its own words, fights for “the total liberation of women” and “to end male violence, regain reproductive sovereignty, and ultimately dismantle the gender-caste system.” But for all of the talk of women’s rights, and despite the current assault on abortion rights led by Republicans (to name just one example) that would seem a more natural target of their ire, the bulk of WoLF’s activism has been obsessively limited to only one issue: fighting the expansion of trans rights, in the name of preventing the spread of what the group derides as the postmodern concept of “gender identity.” In their opposition, they have aligned with conservative, largely Christian rightwing activists and elected officials, who have their separate, reactionary reasons for wanting to maintain the notion that there is a strict dividing line between man and woman and who have, similarly, reframed the debate about trans rights as one about “safety for women and girls.”

In January, the Heritage Foundation’s notoriously homophobic and transphobic Ryan T. Anderson relied on members of WoLF to help him discredit the Equality Act, inviting Beck and WoLF board members Kara Dansky and Jennifer Chavez to participate in a panel titled “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left.” (WoLF, it should be noted, has almost no connections to what most would describe as leftist movements, yet it is repeatedly described as a “representative of the left.”) “Everything is about the T now, entirely eclipsing the L, G, and B. The T is diametrically opposed to the first three letters of the acronym, and especially to the L,” Beck said. She added: “The completely illogical statement that trans women are women is recited like a Big Brother mantra in every leftist space,” but for Beck, “female sex is the only qualifier of womanhood.” (By Beck’s own essentialist logic, then, trans men are women.)

Dansky, the former legal counsel for the Americans Civil Liberties Union, raised a question. “Who would be against equality?” she asked. But the Equality Act, she warned darkly, “would utterly obliterate female-only spaces throughout society.”

Before the Judiciary Committee, Beck, her face a stony mask, a small group of her supporters dressed in red behind her, echoed Danksy, rattling off a list of alarmist scenarios that she believed would be ushered in by the passage of the Equality Act:

Continue reading at:  https://jezebel.com/the-unholy-alliance-of-trans-exclusionary-radical-femin-1834120309

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Cuba’s Government Bans Pride, Arrests Participants

Around this time 50 years ago I went full time, it was a week or two before Stonewall and I had been on hormones for about three months I was a left wing Berkeley hippie and all the elite left wing leaders were heading off to Cuba to cut sugar cane.

At the same time Cubans were fleeing their totalitarian nation in tiny boats and Castro was throwing LGBT people into prison camps where they were being abused in the name of curing them of the disease if being LGBT.

For me this was one of those WTF? contradictions.  Why am I part of a group that supports regimes that abuse my people and deny them the rights I am fighting for in this country.

From Gay City News:  https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/11/cuba-pride-mariela-castro-2019-05-13-gcn.html

Mariela Castro, long a supporter of annual event, charges activists’ gathering US-inspired “show”

BY Matt Tracy
May 13, 2019

Mariela Castro, former President Raúl Castro’s daughter, has long been an LGBTQ rights advocate, but in the wake of the government’s cancellation of Pride festivities scheduled for May 11, she charged that the effort by activists to move forward with the event anyway was simply a “show” orchestrated by Cuban exiles in Miami and the US government.

Cuba’s government banned a Pride celebration from taking place in Havana on May 11 and police arrested those who defied the order, marking the latest troubling sign of a regressive shift on LGBTQ issues in a nation that until recently had shown encouraging signs of acceptance of queer rights.

Hundreds of people marched while carrying Rainbow Flags and chanting, “Long live a diverse Cuba,” according to Reuters, before plainclothes police officers carried away some participants and directed others to leave because the event was not allowed. Activists moved ahead with the unpermitted event after the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) had canceled the 12th annual Pride event just days before.

The Cuban government aggressively sought to enforce the order by reaching out to would-be attendees on social media and in person to warn them not to hold such an event.

The legal landscape for LGBTQ people in Cuba appears to be positive in some areas. Transgender people have had free access to sex reassignment surgery for more than a decade and it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

But a movement late last year to embed same-sex marriage rights in the new constitution was squashed by pressure from religious groups, particularly evangelical churches, and now the cancellation of Pride marks yet another shift to the right.

The event’s cancellation came as a surprise not only because it had gone on successfully for more than a decade but also because it was originally planned by but later nixed by CENESEX, a group led by Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro, who remains first secretary of the Communist Party. She has developed a reputation for being an LGBTQ rights activist, and as recently as five months ago she pushed back against religious conservatives who pushed to reject marriage equality, saying, “We haven’t given in or will give in to the fundamentalist blackmail and backward thinking of people who politically oppose the project.”

But as LGBTQ activists continued planning for a Pride celebration after CENESEX’s cancellation, Castro took to social media to declare that the grassroots event was merely a “show” organized by Cuban exiles in Miami and “backed by officials of the US Embassy and covered by the foreign press.” An article that she attached to that Facebook post suggested that the Pride event was connected to US geopolitical interests in Venezuela.

Even as she criticized the May 11 gathering, Castro voiced support for LGBTQ rights through her Facebook and Twitter pages, urging people in a tweet the day before “to make these days against homophobia and transphobia a space for unity.”

The outlook for further progress on LGBTQ rights in Cuba is unclear given developments on both the nation’s new constitution and this month’s flap over Pride, but President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took power last year, has publicly declared his support of “marriage between people without any restrictio­ns.”

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