The Good News: Transphobia No Longer a Slam-Dunk

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/7/27/good-news-transphobia-no-longer-slam-dunk

Donald Trump maybe be ginning up transphobia to save his imploding presidency, but he’s actually to the right of many Republicans on the issue.

By Riki Wilchins
July 27 2017

On Wednesday, July 26, the president tweeted that trans people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Let history also record that on Thursday, July 13, Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri introduced an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would put an end to the Pentagon’s Obama-era policy of providing gender reassignment surgery for transgender service members, and it was passed overwhelmingly by the Republican-controlled House.

Actually, no.

It was defeated. No, that is not a typo. And with five votes to spare, 214-209.

The House, in which the Republicans outnumber Democrats by 240 to 194, could not muster the votes — 24 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with a solid block of 190 Democrats. (A few in each party were absent or did not vote.)

Denying government funding for trannies to get sex change surgery? Folks, this is the closest thing to a slam-dunk that Republicans have, and it failed. It failed.

I’m sure Vicky and her Freedom Caucus buddies (three more from Missouri alone) must have been beside themselves.

This is a House that has been working to defund Planned Parenthood. It has successfully gone after everyone from Muslims to Mexicans on immigration. It has passed an law that the Congressional Budget Office estimates would take health care away from 22 million Americans and use that money to give tax cuts to the ultra-rich.

It has even gone into the tank for the National Rifle Association and guns for all, including the NRA’s new proposal to back the right of the unborn to carry concealed weapons. OK, I made that last one up. But still, Vicky and the caucus have been in the forefront of all of these social issue fights.

And yet this Congress, surely the most conservation in living memory, cannot muster the votes to deny gender-confirmation surgeries to trans service members. Well, I ask you, What is the world coming to?

This is actually a small watershed.

Continue reading at:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/7/27/good-news-transphobia-no-longer-slam-dunk

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When Progressives Embrace Hate

I can’t express the level of disgust I feel when progressives smear Israel or spout antisemitism under the drag name of Anti-Zionism.  Israel is the only country in the Middle East where women and LGBT Folks have any real rights.  Jewish people in the United States have long been part of the Civil Rights Movement, Feminist Movement and LGBT Movements.

I will not support or take part in any group or demonstration that includes Linda Sarsour or supports the BDS Movement.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/opinion/womens-march-progressives-hate.html

By Bari Weiss
Aug. 1, 2017

A mere half-year ago, before collusion and Comey, before Mika’s face and Muslim bans and the Mooch, there was a shining moment where millions of Americans flooded the streets in cities across the country to register their rage that an unapologetic misogynist had just been made leader of the free world.

Donald Trump’s election was a watershed moment. Even those like me, who had previously pulled levers for candidates of both parties, felt that Mr. Trump had not only violated all sense of common decency, but, alarmingly, that he seemed to have no idea that there even existed such an unspoken code of civility and dignity. Now was the time to build a broad coalition to resist the genital-grabber with the nuclear codes.

The Women’s March moved me. O.K., so Madonna and Ashley Judd said some nutty things. But every movement has its excesses, I reasoned. Mr. Trump had campaigned on attacking the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Now was the time to put aside petty differences and secondary issues to oppose his presidency.

That’s certainly what the leaders of the Democratic Party, who applauded the march, told us. Senator Charles Schumer called the protest “part of the grand American tradition.” The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, offered her congratulations to the march’s “courageous organizers” and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gushed about them in Time, where they were among the top 100 most influential people of 2017. “The Women’s March was the most inspiring and transformational moment I’ve ever witnessed in politics,” she wrote. “And it happened because four extraordinary women — Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour — had the courage to take on something big, important and urgent, and never gave up.”

The image of this fearsome foursome, echoed in more than a few flattering profiles, was as seductive as a Benetton ad. There was Tamika Mallory, a young black activist who was crowned the “Sojourner Truth of our time” by Jet magazine and “a leader of tomorrow” by Valerie Jarrett. Carmen Perez, a Mexican-American and a veteran political organizer, was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders. Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing Palestinian-American and the former head of the Arab-American Association of New York, had been recognized as a “champion of change” by the Obama White House. And Bob Bland, the fashion designer behind the “Nasty Women” T-shirts, was the white mother who came up with the idea of the march in the first place.

What wasn’t to like?

A lot, as it turns out. The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.

***

Start with Ms. Sarsour, by far the most visible of the quartet of organizers. It turns out that this “homegirl in a hijab,” as one of many articles about her put it, has a history of disturbing views, as advertised by . . . Linda Sarsour.

There are comments on her Twitter feed of the anti-Zionist sort: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists, like this from 2015: “You’ll know when you’re living under Shariah law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/opinion/womens-march-progressives-hate.html

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ADL slams Trump ban on trans soldiers as ‘blatantly discriminatory’

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/adl-slams-trump-ban-on-trans-soldiers-as-blatantly-discriminatory/

Jewish group calls president’s announcement ‘deeply objectionable,’ vows to fight against the ‘unpatriotic’ policy

By Times of Israel staff and Agencies
July 26, 2017

The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday denounced the decision by US President Donald Trump to bar transgender people from serving in the military, calling the new policy “deeply objectionable and blatantly discriminatory.”

“It’s a sad day when the President of the United States declares that transgender Americans are unwelcome in the United States military,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO said in statement. “This policy is deeply objectionable – it devalues individual Americans and is blatantly discriminatory. We’ll fight against this unpatriotic ban of transgender troops. We cannot let bigotry stop Americans from serving their country.”

Trump on Wednesday announced on Twitter that transgender people may not serve “in any capacity” in the US military, citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” their presence would cause.

The announcement served as a stunning reversal for the US military, which has spent recent months working with the heads of service branches to implement a plan put in place under Barack Obama’s administration to start accepting transgender recruits.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military,” Trump tweeted.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he added.

Trump’s announcement Wednesday morning did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.

At the Pentagon, members of the staff of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to have been caught unaware by Trump’s tweets. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, referred questions to the White House.

Continue reading:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/adl-slams-trump-ban-on-trans-soldiers-as-blatantly-discriminatory/

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‘I will forever be an American soldier’

From Time Magazine:  http://time.com/donald-trump-president-transgender-troops/

Transgender service members respond to Trump’s Ban

By KARA MILSTEIN, KATY STEINMETZ and KIM BUBELLO

No one knows for sure how many transgender people have served in America’s armed forces, or are currently in uniform. But on July 26, President Donald Trump made it clear that he does not believe they should be allowed to serve “in any capacity.”

In a series of tweets, Trump argued that medical costs for transition-related care are too burdensome, and that having transgender people in the military causes “disruption.” The move seemingly reinstated a ban on open service that former President Barack Obama decided to lift last year, ending decades of what some describe as “serving in silence.” (The Pentagon says it is delaying action until it receives further guidance from the White House.)

Politicians, advocacy groups and LGBTQ individuals decried President Trump’s announcement. Meanwhile, transgender troops currently serving are struggling to understand what the President’s decision will mean for them in the immediate future. Among those who felt most blindsided by the reversal were transgender veterans, who by some estimates number more than 130,000 in the U.S.

Here, nine transgender troops and veterans respond to President Trump’s announcement.

Read article at:  http://time.com/donald-trump-president-transgender-troops/

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Military Families With Transgender Kids Fear for Future

From NBC News:  http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/military-families-transgender-kids-fear-future-n787046

President Trump’s tweets banning transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces not only sent shockwaves from the barracks to Capitol Hill, they also rocked the families of service members whose military health care coverage provides essential care for their transgender children.

“I instantly started crying,” Amanda Brewer told NBC Washington. Her son was reading her the tweets and asked, “What does that mean?'”

“We’re one tweet away from your sister not getting to see the doctor,” Brewer told him.

Her 13-year-old daughter, Jenn, came out as transgender at age 11 but was at first denied coverage for her medical transition. In despair, she tried to kill herself.

“Nothing was working out for me,” Jenn told The Associated Press in an interview last fall. “And I kind of felt suffocated by all of the rules that had been put in place for people like me.”

That all changed shortly after June 2016, when the Pentagon lifted the ban on transgender troops serving openly. Now, Brewer, whose husband serves at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, said she’s worried that Tricare, the military’s health care system, will cut coverage of her daughter’s treatment because of Trump’s recent statements on Twitter.

“I just lost it,” Brewer said. She said her daughter asked, “’How long is it going to be before I don’t have to go march or stand or talk, I’m just allowed to be?'”

When she came out, Jenn was beaten up so badly by school bullies that she suffered a concussion and missed weeks of class, her mom told NBC Washington. But she said beginning a medical transition has improved her daughter’s life.

This week, Jenn got to meet another transgender girl who is just beginning her medical intervention. Her name is Blue, and she is 11. Like Jenn, she is transitioning from male to female.

Blue lives at Ramstein Air Base in Germany where her father is stationed. Blue and her mother, Jessica Girven, are staying with the Brewers while in Washington, having made the trip across the Atlantic to get medical treatment her doctors at Ramstein would not provide.

Despite their refusal, the U.S. military’s health care plan does currently cover the cost of puberty blockers: $15,000. Cross-hormone treatment is also covered for those who elect to receive it: estrogen for transgender girls and testosterone for trans boys. Gender confirmation surgery is currently only covered for active duty personnel who identify as transgender.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/military-families-transgender-kids-fear-future-n787046

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Ex-navy doctor promises free surgery for trans military patients

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/07/31/ex-navy-doctor-promises-free-surgery-trans-military-patients/

by Mariah Cooper
July 31, 2017

Dr. Christine McGinn, an ex-Navy surgeon, has vowed to offer free gender-confirmation surgery for transgender military patients.

McGinn told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that she will still perform operations for patients already on her list despite President Donald Trump announcing a ban on transgender people in the military.

“If the commander-in-chief won’t take care of our veterans, our veterans will. I will do surgery for free on the number of people that I have already lined up for surgery,” McGinn, who is also transgender, told Smerconish.

Trump stated that the reason for the ban was that transgender people in the military caused “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”

McGinn says the cost of medical care for transgender people is one the military’s budget can afford.

“I think it’s being twisted and spun to make it seem like it would be more than it is,” McGinn says. “I think the cost of getting rid of very well specialized, trained military service people is exponentially larger than just taking care of them.”

McGinn transitioned in 2000 while a senior flight surgeon at Willow Grove Naval Air Station. She was also nominated flight surgeon of the year for the U.S. Navy.

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