Transgender military service has
naturally existed throughout human and American
history including, among others, highly
respected Two-Spirit Native Americans and
soldiers who served during the war between the
states in both the Confederate and Union armies.
In the current modern era, many of America's
allied nations have included their transgender
citizens among those who may or must serve in
their armed forces along with everyone else,
including Israel, Australia, Belgium, Canada,
the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain,
Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom; both
Canada and the UK provide sex reassignment
surgery for their transgender service members,
While there is no official estimate of
the number of Transgender American veterans or
service members, the S.W.A.N. report notes that
NCTE (National Center for Transgender Equality)
estimates that "transgender individuals are twice
as likely to join the U.S. military compared to
the general population." In interviewing
hundreds of LGBT veterans since 2006, Gay
Military Signal has found proud patriotic
transgender veterans who have served in every
role in our American armed forces, including
submariners, Marines, Special Forces,
intelligence, gunners, and drill instructors.
In other words, as our allies have found, gender
identity and sexual orientation do not detract
from the courage and patriotism needed to
serve and sacrifice for one's country.
And yet, in the United States,
even years after the repeal of DADT, DOD
Instruction 6130.03 and other regulations
regarding conduct still ban the service of
Transgender American patriots. Neither the
DADT law nor its repeal included nor considered
transgender service, thus leaving DOD
regulations concerning it in effect to this day.
Transgender American Veterans
Association (TAVA) began advocating
for competent and relevant VA treatment for
transgender veterans early in the current
millennium, around 2002, and shortly thereafter
organized a march on Washington which included a
wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
at Arlington National Cemetery.
On a freezing cold early
February morning, recently, the national news
media announced that a rough tough college
football player, headed for the NFL, had come
out, boldly announcing that he's gay. My
first thought was, "yeah so?" But then I
realized that to the happy hetero world of
national sports, this news was kind of a final
frontier. We will know that we have
achieved full equality when everyone says, "yeah
so?" Still, at first, I couldn't stop myself
from yawning in boredom about it. So, I
thought, "now football fans will
find themselves confused and conflicted as they
shout inebriated at their huge HD TV screens. OMG! Should they "cheer for
the Queer?" Just imagine their angst!
Some of these fine folks still haven't gotten
over other minority participation in national
sports. So now they'll choke on their
buffalo wings, flummoxed, fulminating,
ferblungert and ferklemt, oy vey!
And then, in late February came
the national news of a gay basketball player!
He's been signed for a 'Ten Day Contract!' OMG!
Will the sun even rise tomorrow?
Naturally, the news media went to a local bar
near the stadium where he's to play and asked
'typical' imbiber sports fans what they thought
of it all. Maybe it was early in the
evening before they had too much to drink to get
loose lipped; but those who might have had
something negative to say seemed to have had the
sober wisdom to bow out of doing that on TV.
So, there were 'neutral' opinions only by those
who said something like, "so long as he scores
(hoops) they could care less about how he lives
his life." Lovely, progressive! I think.
Still this really IS PROGRESS!
I mean, not a single sports commentator or news
jockey even thought or dared to mention that
both of these fine American athletes are Black.
It was not that long ago in our short American
history that THAT would have been, and was, the
Big News. The racial integration of
professional sports in America came in 1947, a
year before President Harry S. Truman integrated
our armed forces by Executive Order, and nearly
twenty years before civil rights were enshrined
into law by Congress with the Voting Rights Act