America: July 2017

2006-2017  Gay Military Signal

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Pentagon Drags
Delay on Trans Troops

All of America's allies dropped their bans on LGBT military service in the 1990s, including transgender service.  There were no exceptions, everyone could serve, period.  Meanwhile, at that time, the United States of America instituted Don't Ask Don't Tell, which made serving while gay a mandated secret and didn't even include nor mention transgender service.  Now at this late date in world history, our military leaders are dithering to delay open transgender service yet again.  It makes my eyes bug out in incredulity!

Way back in the 1990s I was riding on a packed Israeli intercity bus on a busy Friday afternoon.  Its a tiny country which can be traversed from the Lebanese boarder to the Negev in about 5 hours, and so there's a weekly rush of folks going home for the weekend by bus every Friday afternoon.  At one stop outside a military base out in the middle of nowhere, a young soldier going home for the weekend like everyone else, got on the bus.  He had his Uzi machine gun slung upside down on his back Israeli style; in uniform, short hair, and had on a ton of eye mascara!  I looked around the bus at the usual assortment of Israelis, ultra orthodox, secular, male, female, young and old.  Every last one was totally unfazed, they'd seen all that before, it was nothing to get excited about.  Whenever anyone gets on a bus in Israel, everyone looks up to urgently decide if they are a security threat.  Once they decide the person is safe, everyone looses interest, period.  Israelis have one single priority: Security! Whatever else is going on, if its not a security threat, it simply doesn't matter.  They go back to yawning and reading their newspapers.  So the male soldier is wearing mascara; he's not a security threat, so it doesn't matter.  That's their attitude.  I was the only one with my mouth hanging open, blown away by the sight.  I realized then that Israel was way ahead of America in progress.  Over there, in the 1990s already, a trans soldier could feel safe and free to put on some makeup mascara before heading home on public transit.  While America spent decades banning gay service, in Israel nearly everyone has to serve, being gay or trans was never an excuse.  Israeli men aren't afraid of queer folks, they're secure in their masculinity; so serving alongside someone who is gay, trans, Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, or whatever isn't a problem.

Under the previous American administration, the Pentagon led the way in integrating gay and lesbian service members into our armed forces, and had begun to do the same for transgender patriotic volunteers wanting to serve our nation.  Now, suddenly the Joint Chiefs have begun to raise all the old obsolete objections again to urge a delay in affirming transgender service.  All of our allies lifted their bans decades ago, pragmatically, straightforwardly, without fuss, and ran into zero problems.  Budgetary analysts figured out that it would not cost very much at all; not too many trans folks would be clueless enough to suffer boot camp and deployment to seriously dangerous places to be able to go to the head of the line for transitional services.  Like everyone else, those who volunteer really want to serve.  The available uniform fashion choices are not particularly fabulous either.  Desert camo, jungle camo, blue water camo, please, give me a break!

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LGBT Veterans Monument
Vandalized in National Cemetery

Once again in America, lunatics and losers seem to think that they have gotten permission from certain political leaders to beat up, run down, and kill minorities, and desecrate our sacred sites.  These deranged cockroaches crawl out of their caves and attack, often mistakenly, minority Americans; and places of worship different from their own.  Both mosques and synagogues have been defaced and damaged, and those who worship in them have been violently attacked and murdered.  And yet, certain leaders continue to rant publicly against 'foreigners,' and those of us that they consider less worthy than themselves to walk the Earth and live in freedom and liberty in our nation in which those virtues are sacred.

In late June, in the middle of the night at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Chicago, the recently installed LGBT Veterans Monument was vandalized with roofing tar and a crude drawing.  A granite pink triangle and recessed carved lettering were covered up and damaged.  The national cemetery staff made immediate cleanup efforts and the monument maker is assessing more permanent repairs.

According to AVER past president Danny Ingram, "The American Veterans for Equal Rights monument located in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Chicago has been desecrated. Clearly there are Americans who think it is admirable to dishonor the service and sacrifice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender men and women who have served and sacrificed to defend our nation’s freedom. Hate is not a virtue. Vandalism is not a courageous act. Violence against anyone is inexcusable. And the blatant and direct labeling of any person or group of people as “not even human” is the symptom of a divisive disease that eats away at the foundations of this great nation and makes us deeply vulnerable to the attacks of those who wish to destroy our democratic way of life and our efforts to expand the values of freedom to oppressed people worldwide. This must stop. America’s enemies contribute to and take great joy in our attacks on each other. If there is any group of patriots over which the American people can come together it is those individuals who volunteer to defend our freedom in the United States Armed Forces. An attack on any veteran must be seen as an attack on the things which we value most: service, honor, duty. Shame on these cowards. You are completely unworthy of the sacrifices made to defend your right to free speech. You desecrate our nation's sacred honor."

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