As lesbian and gay servicemembers and military veterans are celebrating the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — despite delays in implementing the repeal — transgender servicemembers and veterans once again find themselves left behind in the battle for equality.
Because repealing DADT did not end the ban on service by trans people.
“The military still puts trans people in the same medical category as pedophilia. They consider it [transgenderism] to be a medical disorder,” said Monica Helms, president and co-founder of Transgender American Veterans Association.
“Trans people still have to be deep in the closet. They can’t talk to anyone about their lives, or they risk being discharged and getting something other than an honorable discharge,” Helms added. “Because the kind of discharge you get can make a huge difference in what kind of benefits you can get.”
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House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Bud McKeon and Rep. Joe Wilson have asked for a delay in “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, set for September 20, because the committee has not received a summary of policy changes on benefits and other matters, they write.
“The Department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final,” the two Republican congressmen wrote in a letter dated September 12. “We would ask that the senior military leaders’ memoranda immediately be made public and transmitted to the Committee on Armed Services.” (Fox News has a report and link to the letter here.)
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the repeal date will stand, however.
“The repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will occur, in accordance with the law and after a rigorous certification process, on September 20,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “Senior Department of Defense officials have advised Congress of changes to regulations and policies associated with repeal. We take that obligation seriously.”
Update: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis issued the following statement on the letter from McKeon and Wilson:
“This is another example of the hardcore opposition attempting to delay or undo ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal. I expect they will continue to look for openings to deny gay and lesbian service members the same rights and dignity as their straight counterparts. On the substance, Mr. McKeon and Mr. Wilson are simply wrong. The statute only requires that the new regulations be prepared — not issued — before certification.”
Hey guys, this is Patrick (and not the Krusty Krab… sorry, had to : P ).
Alrighty, I finally received my brief concerning the repeal of DADT.
To sum up what was presented in the brief:
- EFFECTIVE DATE - 6 JULY 2011
- ALL soldiers will be held to the same code of conduct and will be expected to uphold and live by the Army values, regardless of sexual orientation
- Same-sex marriages are not officially recognized by the federal government and the Department of Defense (due to the Defense of Marriage Act). This means that a Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine that is married to someone of the same sex will NOT be eligible to collect BAS and/or BAH. However, same-sex couples are authorized to get married in states that allow same-sex marriage. HOWEVER, a service member will be eligible to collect BAS/BAH if the same-sex couple chooses to adopt a child. But, only one parent can claim that child.
- Sexual harassment/assault WILL NOT be tolerated. It is not okay, regardless of sexual orientation. Slurs will also not be tolerated, under any circumstances, and can be warranted by punishment under UCMJ.
- MEMBERS WHO WERE DISCHARGED UNDER DADT IN PREVIOUS YEARS WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR RE-ENTRY INTO THE SERVICE. Service members who were discharged under DADT may be eligible to receive back pay from the time of their separation to the time of their re-entry into the armed forces. This issue is still being discussed.
This is a great day in history for the constant civil rights movement. If you have any questions, please feel free to hit up the ask box!
- Air Force: expect to be finished training around June 30th
- Marines: expect to be finished training around June 1st
- Army: expect to be finished training around mid-August
- Coast Guard: didn’t have actual training, it was more of a non-issue
- Navy: expect to be finished training around July 1st
These are just the “expected” dates, which means that likely it’ll be after them that training is actually completed. Assuming everything works out by these dates, we’ll still have to wait 60 days after everyone is fully trained and the bigwigs agree that its okay to serve openly. We will keep you posted.
Just so you know, that 1SG got removed from command. And people have been coming up to me and saying thank you for not taking that shit from her. Another seasoned female soldier told me I squared her away by having the initiative to report the 1SG, and is the reason she came forward to tell her part of the story. It feels good, for justice to be done. Not for me, but for the soldiers. When asked about why I stepped forward, I simply said “I want better for my soldiers. They deserve better.”
So that’s my tale. It turns out she had wronged a few more soldiers who she suspected was gay that night, and they were brave enough to step forward after I did. Remember, it was them I was doing it for in the first place. She didn’t look at me and ask if I were gay, but either way it was wrong. I want better for my soldiers. Each day I’m working to become a better leader, and one who stands up for anyone who’s getting shit, whether it’s about their race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or whatever. I don’t care, it’s my job to take care of them and make better soldiers out of them. I’d say I’m off to a good start.
That is fantastic news, and thank you so much, again, for standing up for what is right. Hopefully people take a lesson from this and will realize that they can’t discriminate against us because of our sexual orientation anymore.
So a lot of stuff happened this while I was working…one, we got more training on the DADT repeal, and it seemed to go fine. Our entire battalion had gotten together, and we had gone down to a training area and had to stay in barracks(lame). Anyways, late in the night, after a formal event a few females were hanging out in the racks, chatting about hair of all things. This gorgeous female(well call her Tara) I had met only once before(she’s in a different company), was in our racks as were a bunch of other females from other companies. So I didn’t notice Tara had a tattoo behind her ear, it was of two female symbols. In the middle of our conversation a female 1SG(first sergeant) walks in and immediately looks at Tara and says “I gotta know, you lick the pussy right? That’s why you have that tattoo!” and continues to make all these dumb ass remarks.
Tara says it’s a tattoo she got with her sister, and the room is completely quiet and awkward because of the 1SG. Mind you, Tara felt obligated having such a high ranking person come up and say “You lick the pussy”, and then to do it in front of everyone! Fuck that shit. Then the 1SG kept bugging her until she fesses up! I was pissed the fuck off. After 1SG gets the answer she wants, she proceeds to pretend everything is ok by saying she would “do” certain female celebrities just to brag about it to a guy——yada, yada, yada…whatever the fuck.
First off, to reduce someones sexual orientation to mere sexual acts is rude as hell, especially when you don’t know them well enough to comment or make jokes about it.
2nd off, to use your position of leadership to force someone to confess is beyond fuckin dirty, it makes you a sorry ass leader.
3rd, trying to make it better by saying you’d do a homosexual act just to brag about it if fucking lame, and it didn’t make shit better.
So, I left. I walked outta the room. The sad thing is, I had looked up to this 1SG early in my Army career, I hugged her only a few hours before because I hadn’t seen her in forever! Was she crude? Yeah, but what she did was fuckin dirty.
The next morning, I spoke to Tara and a male soldier(who is bisexual). She was really upset, and the male had gone through the same thing with the 1SG earlier that night. And to top it off, the 1SG walked around yelling that she was looking for Tara to ask if she was gay because of her tattoo. Fuckin’ really? So it wasn’t even contained to the barracks, it was announced to the whole fuckin battalion.
Something needed to be done.
I made a really tough decision, but it was the right own. I wrote a sworn statement about the 1SG and her actions. It was hard because I had looked up to her and I had worked for her, and there’s the fear of creating a rift of epic proportions in the battalion that will affect the working relationships I have with people, and the fear of retaliation. I reported her to the EO(equal opportunity) officer. It was a fuckin bold move, but it had to be done. Me stepping up as a leader, encouraged others to come forward with their part of the story. Her actions wasn’t even directed at me, but I have to look out for soldiers, and her using her position as a podium of abuse is not going to happen on my motherfuckin watch. This is why I became a leader, this is why I’m in the Army, to make a difference.
(my old mentor found out what happened, and called me saying thanks. He was impressed by the courage it took to speak up, especially in our battalion. It was nice to make him proud)
Action is already being taken, and they are keeping me informed of the process as it gets sent up the chain. It looks like she’ll get removed from command.
It really breaks my heart to hear that people, especially people in command, think this is okay to do. Thank you SO much for having the balls to report her for that, thank you so so so so so much. We need to stand up for our rights, because even with DADT being repealed right now, people aren’t going to stop being homophobic. We have to stand up for our rights and let them know that we won’t be taking shit from them. Please keep us posted as to what happens.