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Cross-posted from the Bilerico Project. Monica Helms is the president of the Transgender American Veterans Association.

The impending repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell hangs over Bigot Americans like a specter of doom that will reach Biblical proportions.  

In other words, they lack a strong grip on reality.  They will do anything it takes to instill fear on the unknowing masses, stopping short of predicting the coming of The Rapture.  Well, maybe they won't stop short of that.

In this endless process of misinformation and out-and-out lies, the one part of the LGBT community that they like pointing to in order to generate the most fear is transgender people.  They will always gravitate to the worn-out, standard line from the Bigot's Handbook (Volume 17, 5th Edition, page 963) "Men in dresses."  If all else fails, they can always throw out "Men in dresses," even if it has nothing to do with transgender people.  To Bigot Americans, ALL gay men wear dresses.  That's BS to the max.  Hell, I know several trans women and lesbians who wouldn't be caught dead in a dress.

Let me show the important points in this latest round of lies that they like to gloss over or don't wish people to know about.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell does not cover gender identity or expression

It should have, but sadly it doesn't.  No one thought that transgender people actually served in the military.  The possibility was too outrageous to everyone, including gays and lesbians.  They forgot about Christine Jorgensen.  We were nothing more than an after thought once again.

The military thinks that anyone who wishes to change their sex is automatically gay.  However, transsexuals will still be subjected to discharge under different rules after DADT becomes history.  Also, any man caught crossdressing off duty will be subjected to these same rules.

I'm wondering if anyone could dodge the bullet on this by saying they were gay and pointed out that DADT has been repealed.  Some may get away with it if they have a stupid commander, but I wouldn't recommend this path.  It could catch up to them later.  The best bet would be to have the Department of Defense address this issue separately so transgender people can also serve openly, like they can in six other countries.

Military people wear standard uniforms

All I can say to this is "DUH!"  We have an all-volunteer military, so everyone serving asked for that job.  If a person takes a job, then they follow the rules set down in the workplace.  Plane and simple.  Besides the military, many other jobs require a person to wear a uniform.  If you do the work, then you dress the part.  Men will NOT be wearing dresses while on duty.  Reality is not a Korean War sitcom.

In all the state and local jurisdictions where laws have been passed to protect transgender people in employment - some going back to the early 1990s - there has not been one case where a man came to work wearing a dress and got fired.  Workplaces have dress codes that are gender specific, so if a person wants to keep their job, then they will follow these guidelines.  However, dress codes should not be used as a weapon to prevent transsexuals from transitioning.  It would be the same in the military.

The area where Bigot Americans seem to have a problem pertains to a transsexual who begins living full time in their target gender.  The BAs insist that no one can change their sex, so transsexuals should be considered "men in dresses."  What about "women in pants" when it comes to FtMs?  I don't seem to hear that bantered around much.

Luckily, a good portion of large corporations and many smaller companies now understand the process and allow their transsexual employees to wear the gender specific clothing or uniforms appropriate for their new gender.  So, that means that if a male-to-female transsexual is allowed to transition in the military, they would not be considered "men in dresses."  Corporations already have a handle on that and so would the military.

Some gays and lesbians refuse to discuss transgender people in the military

The Transgender American Veterans Association has heard over and over and over that when DADT gets brought up, transgender people have to be left out.  When this first came up, the excuse we heard was, "DADT only covers sexual orientation."  TAVA knew that transgender people had been targeted and discharged under DADT, but without any proof, the ones protecting the integrity of the wording in the Military Readiness Enhancement Act could easily blow us off.  The specter of "men in dresses" scares them as much as it does the Bigot Americans.

But, the excuse given to keep us from being covered has now been proven to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  I have to keep bringing up the TAVA Survey, because the facts can no longer be ignored.  We have the proof of what we have been saying all along, but the guardians of the bill still will not listen.  Their "baby" has grown up to a whole new world and it needs to reflect that new world.

What is wrong with creating a whole new bill that allows all LGB AND T people to serve openly, instead of just repealing the existing law?  The new bill covering all of us would not only trump the existing law, thus repealing it, but allow for transgender people to serve openly in the military.  When the legislators originally wrote the bill, we had a Republican-controlled government, so they went for the bare bone.  We now have a government who will pass a more comprehensive bill, so why are the gay and lesbians working on this issue still running scared?  I'll tell you why.  "Men in dresses."

As I stated above, six countries allow transgender people to serve openly.  Canada, UK, Israel, and Thailand allow all of their transgender people to serve, whereas Australia and Spain allow FtM transsexuals to serve openly.  If they have figured it out, then I would hope that America is smart enough to also figure it out.  But, the truth of the matter has nothing to do with "figuring it out."  The legislators sponsoring this bill and the gays and lesbians pushing for it lack the will power to do the right thing.  Because other countries have figured this out without any problems, then we won't be inventing the wheel.  Too bad some people feel scared of doing the right thing.

Reality check on transgender people in the military

Who are the idiots out there who think that just because a person identifies as being trans, they can't control themselves and have to dress in women's clothes on duty, as if they had some form of "fashion terrett syndrome?"  From personal experience and from knowing hundreds of other transgender veterans, they have far more control over their gender issues then the hundreds of men who can't control their urge to commit rape.

Some, not all, transgender military people (specifically MtF) will crossdress off duty, off base, when on liberty or leave.  They shouldn't be penalized for this.  When they go back to duty, they will make sure no evidence, regardless of how small it could be, will be left on their bodies.  They would not shave their legs or body hair, but would never grow a beard unless being at sea for many months, or in a war zone.  Their clothes would be tucked away at a civilian friend's house, a bus station locker, in the trunk of their car, or any other place where no one in the military would find them.  Conversely, FtM military people could get away with looking as butch as possible, both on and off duty.  Still, that doesn't protect them from the DADT wolves.

Up until the 1990s and the extensive use of the Internet, transgender people in the military did not have a lot to go on when it came to the feelings they had.  Most thought that no one else in the world felt like them.  They knew of Renee Richards, Wendy Carlos and Christine Jorgensen, but could not be sure if their life needed to go in that direction.  Many joined the military so it could "make a man out of them," but that didn't work.  During the Vietnam Era, some join to have the Viet Cong "take care of their problem," but instead, they came home with the same "problem' and new ones to boot.  No matter why they joined, their secret would be one they would take to their grave.  The "men in dresses" BS that Bigot Americans like tossing out would be the last thing they would ever think of.

Looking back on my time in the military, I remember one thing that makes me still smile today when I think about it.  When out on patrol on a submarine, we knew the very day we would return, like clockwork.  In the middle of the patrol, we would have what we called, "Halfway Night."  During the celebration, we would have contests, some would sing or play guitars, I played a kazoo and others would do skits.  Inevitably, there was always one person who just so happened to have all the necessary items to dress as a woman for a skit.  Looking back at that, I now understand why.

The subject of gays in the military will not be put to rest, even after DADT is repealed.  There will always be Americans who will never accept this, even if a decade passes without incident.  A transgender person serving openly is another subject all together, yet we can serve just as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight people can.  The military has set rules for uniforms, so even a transitioning transsexual will be required to dress appropriately for their new gender.  And, if six other countries can do this, then so can we.

Transgender people have enough problems bucking the system on this issue without having our gay and lesbian friends make fun of us or intentionally hold us back because of being afraid that we would upset the delicate senses of the legislators.  We see yet another situation where transgender people are being told, "We'll come back for you later."  Too bad, but "later" is NOW, and we have all the proof to show why.  Take your heads out of the sand and let's do the right thing for once.  And, don't let me ever hear a gay man or lesbian use "men in dresses" when talking about transgender people in the military, even if it's in a joking manner.

Visit The Bilerico Project for daily queer commentary.

Originally posted to The Bilerico Project on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Can you expand on this? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhetoricus, kyril

      However, transsexuals will still be subjected to discharge under different rules after DADT becomes history.  Also, any man caught crossdressing off duty will be subjected to these same rules.

      I suspect you're correct for transsexuals, especially someone desiring SRS surgery, but why the off-duty crossdresser? It would seem odd to allow openly gay men to cruise the NCO club, but discharge a guy for a fondness for silky things...

      •  Crossdressing (0+ / 0-)

        would probably be under the same umbrella as being transgender, in that it is viewed as a mental disorder and subject to discharge.
        That is the reason they would fall under the same rules.

        I distrust those who know so well what God wants, because I notice that it always coincides with their own desires. -Susan B. Anthony

        by legendmn on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:20:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Look (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Newzie

    they have to dress in uniform like anyone else.  What they do in private should have nothing to do with anything else.  If they get discriminated against becuase of it, then that is wrong and the military should be sued.

    I dont  know why they would want to serve in an organisation that is macho in the first place but thats not really the point is it?

    http://politicz.wordpress.com/

    by GlowNZ on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:23:13 PM PDT

    •  The thing people forget is... (7+ / 0-)

      when you're in the military you really no longer have a "private" life.  You don't even live under the same set of rules--your life is regulated under the "Uniformed Code of Military Justice."

      Your off-duty conduct (especially if you're an officer) is just as regulated as your on-duty conduct.

      Under the UCMJ you can be jailed and thrown out of the military for adultry and other things that would be minor offenses in civilian life.

      President Obama, are aliens real?

      by David Kroning on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:28:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  however there are limits to that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        Off duty, you can engage in political speech and association, so long as it does not include expressions of contempt for the chain of command including the C-in-C: but some amazingly ferocious stuff is permissible.  No doubt all of us saw & heard stuff said by active duty military members during the past 8 years.  

        Off duty you can engage in any legally-protected religious activity.  

        One thing you can't do is run afoul of civilian law: that's always a bigtime no-no.

    •  But which uniform? (8+ / 0-)

      And this is a serious question that I am attempting to present without snark.  Working uniforms are unisex, but service and dress uniforms are gender specific, not only in the articles of clothing themselves, but in the regulations about placement of rank, ribbons, and the like.

      Additionally, female versions of service and dress uniforms include a skirt option, though most female Marines I knew tended to opt for the pants instead.

      •  In the Navy, even working uniforms (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, G2geek, bushondrugs

        aren't unisex, although I got away with wearing the men's version (fits women better). There might be an issue, though, with the women's uniform on a biologically-male frame; it has wide hips, short legs, and a waistline designed to sit on the ribcage and suffocate you.

        I don't see a problem with transmen's uniforms. In general, the male military uniforms are much better-fitting for both genders and have a wide range of available sizes. Transwomen, however - especially those on the tall side - might run into some problems. And yes, there would be a real issue with convincing the people in charge that transgendered servicemembers don't have to wear the uniform of the gender of their birth, especially since you'd then most likely have an epidemic of non-TG female servicemembers trying to get away with wearing the men's uniforms. (Did I mention that female uniforms suck?)

        •  They are now... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, kyril, bushondrugs

          The AF and Navy are switching over to cammies as working uniforms, albeit in different patterns.  Now all 4 services wear the same type of unisex uniform (blouse and trousers with boots), but with different colors in the camouflage.

          And, as a Marine, I think of the Dress Blue uniform, unique and very gender specific among all the services.  In fact, the high collar look was rejected by both Female Marines at large and the Uniform Board as being generally not fitting the Marine aesthetic.

          And yes, I agree with your sentiment that Female Uniforms and equipment in general suck from a performance and aesthetic viewpoint.  

          My best friend (who's a 5'9" woman with a rather ample chest but otherwise slender and in great shape) was a Marine Field Radio Operator.  She complained about how if there was field equipment built for women, such as packs built to distribute more of the weight to the hips, then it would help to eliminate some of the bad stereotypes of women in the field.

          •  seems to me the answer to this is... (0+ / 0-)

            ...when someone is in the military, they are a warrior first, and gender as such is inherently less important except for certain very specific types of physical activities and medical requirements.  

            Dress uniforms are an important part of military culture and tradition, but it seems to me (as a clueless civvie) that they are worn for specific occasions that are separate and distinct from the day to day of the job.  

            So far as working uniforms and gear are concerned, I don't see a reason why they have to be gender-specific: for example there may be males (conventionally defined) who have stronger hips than shoulders and could be more effective using female (conventionally defined) gear.  

            When a warrior has a change of their religion, it seems to me that it's a simple administrative matter to update their records and in some cases their dietary status (e.g. converts to Islam -> day of worship is Friday and pork is not included in the diet).

            So, why not handle gender the same way?  A simple administrative change of records and whatever minor practical adjustments are needed, perhaps including assignment to new quarters.  

            Is any of this useful or even slightly relevant to the real circumstances facing individual service members and the services as institutions?

            •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, bushondrugs

              re: dress uniforms, that's true for people like me (I never wore a dress uniform after I got out of training) who work long hours in dirty environments in commands who couldn't give less of a crap what you look like as long as you bathe regularly. But ground units play dress-up a lot, and people who work in administrative jobs, medical jobs, or other clean occupations wear "service uniforms" (like the dress uniforms, but uglier) essentially every day. In the Navy, E-7s and above and non-pilot officers wear service uniforms basically all the time regardless of their job. There are a lot of these people. So it really is an important issue.

              On the second issue: there really isn't such a thing as female gear. There should be, but there isn't. Women who are well-endowed have a hell of a time because nothing really fits right. The only gendered worn items are the uniforms, and they're very badly done. This is just something that we have to deal with; luckily, transpeople wouldn't be any worse off than anyone else, except that transwomen would have a hell of a time getting pants that fit.

              And on comparing gender to religion, it's really not the same at all. Truth is that religion really only affects how they bury you if you die. If you want to see a chaplain in the field, 9 times out of 10 you get an evangelical Protestant Christian; there are no accommodations for your day of worship; and you make your own dietary accommodations. Now, gender affects several things officially - where you sleep, what bathroom you can use, what you wear, where you can serve, what jobs you can do, how much you can weigh, what your body measurements have to be, what physical standards you have to meet. It also affects a bunch of other stuff unofficially, but that needs to go away so I won't discuss it.

  •  Not to mention (9+ / 0-)

    the fact that there's nothing wrong with a man in a dress, whether he's wearing it because he's transgendered or because he's a transvestite.

    http://www.eddieizzard.com/

    •  <3 izzard (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox, kyril, chrome327

      "Because we all know one of the main factors of war is the element of surprise. And what could be more surprising than the First Battalion Transvestite Brigade Airborne Wing?"

    •  what's wrong is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, bushondrugs

      ...the reason some guys freak out about "men in dresses."

      They look and see a dress, which flips a switch in their head that says "female!", and then they feel some degree of attraction to the person wearing the dress.... who turns out to be another guy.... and then they freak out because if they were attracted, it means they're gaaaaaay, eeeeek!

      And the answer to that is, teach people a little common sense: God isn't going to strike them down for making a mistake of identification, it's no more a big deal than thinking a random stranger on the street is an old friend from school because they look similar,  

      And further, if they are gay or bi, that's no big deal either (this is the graduate level of the common sense course:-)

  •  Thanks for this. (7+ / 0-)

    To be honest I had no idea that transgendered people would still be discriminated against unless a whole new law is written. I guess I just figured that repealing DADT would cover it. Obviously if it doesn't there needs to be something to prevent discrimination. It's wrong to eliminate it for some and to ask others to wait their turn.

    "ENOUGH!" - President Barack Hussein Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:28:39 PM PDT

  •  Those who oppose are thinking of "Klinger" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Judge Moonbox, kyril

    on M*A*S*H* - stuck in stereotyping no doubt.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

    by moose67 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:38:52 PM PDT

  •  Just as a reminder.. (6+ / 0-)

    For many of us gay people, "come back for you later" means "come back for us later," because many of us face more discrimination for being gender-nonconforming than for being gay per se. As every butch dyke and fey gay guy out there knows, laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation alone aren't going to help us all that much either.

    That said, there is a lot more education that needs to keep happening about transgender status in the military. It's not just about how one dresses (and as I recall, female uniforms in the military don't include skirts).

    There needs to be more clarity about what the law would entail, particularly because "TG" encompasses a wide spectrum of gender expression. (For example, would the protection extend to pre-op TG's as well as post-op? If units are segregated by gender, what would the guidelines be for transfolk?)

    Not all current laws protecting transfolk are the same. Some say that to be considered fully transitioned, a transperson needs to be full time, post-op, and to have legally changed name, etc. Other laws stipulate that one must be full-time and on hormones, but op-status is not critical, etc. The military is unique in that there is a lot of and "shared bathroom" and "tight quarters" that one would not find in a regular job.

    Also, gender in the military is a huge issue on its face. The military has done an absolutely abysmal job or protecting its women from rape and harassment. I cringe to think of what would happen to transfolk of either gender under the military's current neanderthal conditions perpetuated by the last 8 years of "anything goes." A lot of change, education and rolling of heads has to happen regarding all concerns gender.

    There are many senses in which laws in general that govern gender identity, status and expression are much more complicated and specific than those that govern sexual orientation alone. That's why it's easier to pass laws about sexual orientation.

    However, as previously mentioned, until gender-expression laws are passed, not only will transfolk be unprotected, but so will  a good number of gender-nonconforming gay people.

    How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

    by rhetoricus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:02:59 PM PDT

    •  A couple of points... (4+ / 0-)

      It's not just about how one dresses (and as I recall, female uniforms in the military don't include skirts).

      There are still skirts in the uniform issue, though they are optional in service and dress uniforms, but a required component of most "Mess Dress" uniforms (the ultra-formal uniform).

      Where there IS a difference, however are individual uniform regs regarding placement of insignia, ribbons, and the like, owing to the fact that male and female shirts are cut differently.

      One thing that I haven't contemplated, though, is the issue of the whole process of gender-conversion surgery and the therapy, hormone and otherwise, that precedes it.  How would you (or anyone else who wishes to comment) propose to treat people in the various stages of the process who serve in an active duty capacity?  At what point, if it exists, does the Active Duty member become a burden and must be discharged, not because they are going through the process, but because there are legitimate medical and psychological issues to factor into how they can perform their duty.

      Please understand, I'm trying to be respectful.  I truly believe that ANYONE who wants and is able to serve should be able to do so, but I'm also weary of too many changes for the sake of a few that could potentially jeopardize mission accomplishment.

      •  This is why.. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, G2geek, Judge Moonbox, kyril, chrome327

        there needs to be a lot more education and communication re: transfolk and job protection status, especially in the military.

        It's also why a bill covering sexual orientation and a bill covering gender status, identity and expression may have to be different bills (I'm fine introducing them at the same time, though, and lobbying for both).

        And as I said, it's not practical to assume that gay people will leave transfolk "behind" if the bills are separate, because until the gender expression and status issues are addressed in law, gay people will not be dismissed on the basis of sexual orientation anymore, but plenty of us will be dismissed on the basis of gender expression ("acting" too butch/fey, etc).

        All that said, lots of military folk need to take meds, and do. I would presume that an on-duty soldier would not transition while in theater (in most states it's a complicated and demanding process involving medical, therapeutic  and legal review, etc), but there's a lot I don't know. Any legislation or proposed changes in regulation obviously would need to stipulate legal and medical guidelines.

        How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

        by rhetoricus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:28:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  what i would do about this is... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, bushondrugs

        First of all, no starting a conversion process while in a combat rotation because the medical issues may have effects that hinder the individual's combat capabilities (e.g. their body starts adjusting to new hormones, etc.).

        Second, when someone initiates a gender transition, they could be placed into a non-combat assignment for the duration of the transition, because those circumstances are more flexible in dealing with medical issues and practical issues such as quarters.  

        Third, when someone completes a gender transition, their medical situation is assessed and if there are no complicating factors, they can be returned to a combat rotation in their new gender.  

        Seems to me that would work.  And the number of people who would elect to have gender transitions to avoid the risks of combat would be so small as to be negligible.  

        •  Which begs the next question... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          Who pays for all of this?

          •  four trillion would have gone a long way.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, Marja E

            ...to solving most of our problems as a nation, but instead we flushed it down the bank.  

            Realistically, the number of people who elect to do gender transitions is so small that it could reasonably be covered.  And the same case goes for gender transitions among civilians, under a national health care program.  

            The fact that a person can survive with a body that doesn't match their soul, more readily than with e.g. a compound fracture or a faulty heart valve, is irrelevant.  A person can also survive with abnormal serotonin reuptake, but we don't complain about paying for their SSRIs.  And there are other conditions that a person could survive but also require surgery, and we pay for those.  

            No one in their right mind chooses to have significant surgery on a frivolous basis.  If someone is at a point in their life where this becomes necessary, then, as with other medical decisions, we really should not go second-guessing from the sidelines.  

        •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bushondrugs

          it's not just combat assignments where transitioning could pose a problem. Housing isn't a problem in the continental US (you can always just give the person a housing allowance and let them get a damned apartment like the responsible adults our servicemembers are). But uniform standards are, if anything, more of a problem in the sorts of billets where people are assigned for medical reasons (since they're usually clean and safe and therefore inhabited by people who like to be anal about uniforms). And behavioral/emotional/hormonal problems are rarely accommodated anywhere. People with mental health diagnoses other than PTSD (which is thankfully becoming somewhat respectable) are frequently alienated and discriminated against. I just don't think it's a good environment.

          After spending some time thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that while I support full integration of transpeople into the military, they should complete their transition as civilians. If they decide they need to transition while in the military, they should be granted some sort of long-term leave or perhaps a hardship discharge, with the understanding that they will return after transitioning.

  •  I have a minor question (5+ / 0-)

    I have no intention to offend - many members of the DKos community are aware that I am among the first to recognize and jump on TG slurs, every time I see them, and that I have a certain amount of personal understanding for the transpeople among us because I am not myself able to conform happily with my gender role and spent some time when I was younger seriously wondering if I was TG.

    However, there are logistical problems for the military if we want to accommodate transpeople who are in transition. I'm not talking about the stuff that makes people feel squicky - obviously the clothing, uniforms, sleeping and showering arrangements, etcetera could be straightened out. But there are physical/health problems.

    First, hormone treatments: while there's unlikely to be a problem with MtFs taking hormones, FtMs might be an issue. When a transman starts testosterone or changes the dosage level, he can become unpredictable - even to himself. The personality effects of testosterone are very real - there's an increase in aggression and impulsivity. I don't think it's appropriate to deny hormones to someone in transition who wants them, but I do see an issue with starting them in the military.

    Second, surgery: This is a smaller problem and could probably be handled under the rules for any elective cosmetic surgery (pay your own way, recover on leave). But that only works as long as nobody points to the fact that being transgendered is a recognized medical condition.

    Third, gendered physical fitness standards: it would probably be inappropriate to continue to hold transitioning or post-transition transpeople to the physical standards of the gender of their birth, but in the case of transmen (especially those choosing not to use hormone treatments), using the male standards could have an undeserved negative effect on their careers.

    Then there's a fourth problem which really has little or nothing to do with transpeople and everything to do with the accepted gender discrimination in our military. Canada doesn't have this problem (I don't know about the other countries) because Canadian women are eligible to serve in any role. But in the U.S., women are not allowed to serve in certain types of combat roles, and we're categorically banned from the Special Forces. Personally, I don't find this acceptable, but it is reality at the moment. Now, we have to foresee a conflict here: if transmen are treated as men (as they should be), they wouldn't be barred from the same roles as women are. Transwomen, however, would be. So we'd have an untenable situation of discrimination with no biological basis or justification. Would this be a catalyst for equal opportunity for women in the military? Or would it put transmen in danger from persons who want to preserve the status quo? I think we should sort out the discrimination problem before we put transpeople in that situation.

    •  see my comment under the header (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhetoricus, kyril, bushondrugs

      "what I would do about this is..."

      Seems to me that Special Forces (and Seals) are exceptional cases because the tasks they are called upon to perform call for absolutely minimizing any need to accommodate individual circumstances.  If they could find a way to make humans not need air to breathe, and that was relevant to duty, they'd do it.  In fact the Seals were experimenting with a way to breathe under water without any special breathing apparatus: it involved inhaling some kind of gel into the lungs that acted like "gills".  

      But aside from those exceptions, the rest of it seems pretty straightforward.  

    •  I've seen this true of.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, bushondrugs

      MtF's as well, regarding unpredictable reactions to hormones. Good friends have gone through intense emotional upheaval, powerful feelings of instability, as well as things like sleep loss, intolerance to cold, heart issues, etc. Most of these stabilize with the right kind of medical supervision.

      But like I said, it would surprise me if a TG elected to transition while in theater, given the complexity and demanding legal and medical nature of the process (kind of like you don't normally expect female soldiers to bear children while in theater).

      How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

      by rhetoricus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 09:07:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm not necessarily talking about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhetoricus, bushondrugs

        in theater. The thing is that the military expects certain behavioral standards and levels of discipline at all times. Please don't take this as an insult to servicemembers - I was one - but hormonal upheavals really do make it difficult to control one's behaviour. I ended up on an aircraft carrier while pregnant, and while I'm normally a very reserved and emotionally controlled person, the hormones of early pregnancy led to quite a few outbursts and inexplicable crying spells.

        Now, for me the only real effect that had was to make everyone around me really uncomfortable; as an E-5, I was relatively insulated from being yelled at as I mostly only interacted with people my rank and below. But I know the effects of a sudden influx of testosterone are different, and my concern is that these could lead to disciplinary problems (insubordination, off-duty fights, possibly even physical outbursts) that really aren't the fault of the servicemember involved. Estrogen might lead to emotional upheaval, which while it wasn't a huge problem for me would be extremely problematic for a junior enlisted person in a ground unit. And servicemembers are generally held accountable for their behavior, on and off duty, regardless of whether or not it occurs under chemical influence.

        •  I imagine.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          all of these considerations would have to be taken into account. Also, there are less-stressful military positions. And of course, the question of combat positions would be a big one anyway.

          How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

          by rhetoricus on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:54:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm tired and I'm stupid and I don't mean to be (0+ / 0-)

    insulting...but are the rules the same for both transsexuals and transvestites?  It seems they are not the same.

  •  minor note (0+ / 0-)

    "fashion terrett syndrome?"

    I think you meant Tourette's Syndrome, though I'd rather see that mention removed entirely.  Tourette's should not be the punchline of a joke, and it makes me sad to see it used as such in the middle of an otherwise-well-written diary.  

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