Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Trans People Still Face Military Discrimination

Via the Washington Post:
"As [Landon Wilson] enlisted, he was urged to become a cryptologic technician. By Wilson’s estimate, the Navy spent at least a half-million dollars getting him the highest-level security clearance in government and training him for an intelligence job that involves intercepting and analyzing communications from foreign governments and extremists. 
He developed a reputation as a talented, meticulous, hard-working sailor, said Shayne Allen, a former colleague who was stationed with Wilson at the Navy Information Operations Command in Hawaii.
'Landon was someone who you don’t see a lot of in the military these days,' Allen said. 'He not only checked all the boxes, but went above and beyond.' 
During his time in Hawaii, Wilson earned several awards and accolades for his work. In a unit of roughly 10,000 sailors, he was recognized as the performer of the quarter in 2012 and the enlisted sailor of the quarter in 2013."
The Navy later determined that Wilson was a transgender man and sent him home from Afghanistan, where he was stationed, intercepting communications for Special Operations troops. He was then granted an honorable discharge.

This post is just a reminder that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" did not address service by transgender people. Meanwhile, a non-partisan commission led by former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, MD, has determined that "there is no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service, and that eliminating the ban would advance a number of military interests, including enabling commanders to better care for their service members" (See PDF for full report).

I have complicated, conflicting thoughts about the US military, but it seems like Wilson was thriving in it. The problem doesn't seem to be that Wilson is trans, but that the bureaucracy didn't know what to do with him for being trans.

I'm no more of a military expert than Elaine Donnelly, but it always seems facetious to me when opponents of trans, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people serving in the military suggest that it might be too complicated to figure out how to appropriately integrate these non-cis, non-hetero people into the military.

The US military practically invented Internet. I'm highly confident it can figure out how to let trans people continue serving. If its leadership really wanted to.

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