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What The President Left Out


Monica Helms
President, Transgender
American Veterans Association

On January 25, 2011, millions of Americans watched President Obama’s second State of the Union speech.  He left out one important group of Americans when he said, “Our troops come from every corner of this country — they're black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim.  And, yes, we know that some of them are gay.  Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.  And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC.  It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.”

It seems that transgender and transsexual people will still be forbidden to serve “the country they love” because of who they are.  Several of our allies have long since allowed trans people to serve in their militaries and don’t see it as a big deal.  The US continues to hold onto ancient beliefs based on junk science, ignorance and hatred.  If the President is serious about moving forward it all areas of this country, then allowing trans people to serve openly would be one of the most important areas.


The second highlighted part has to with allowing recruiters and ROTC back on university and college campuses.  Most universities and colleges have non-discrimination policies that include “Gender Identity” and/or “Gender Expression,” along with “Sexual Orientation.”  Allowing the military back on campuses before they let trans people serve openly would continue to violate the school’s non-discrimination policy.


At this time, students at Harvard and Stanford are already working on insuring their campuses will still bar recruiters and ROTC until ALL Americans have the right to serve openly.  TAVA supports the efforts of these two universities and the efforts of any other institute of higher learning that follows in their footsteps.  The President needs to be sent a message that all discrimination needs to be eliminated.  These schools are the perfect way to send that message.

  2011 Gay Military Signal