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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