I Served

"As one who narrowly missed being drafted in the 1970 lottery (somehow bypassing me, with a 122, on the way to a final 125 for that year), I seriously considered the possibility of outing myself if called. I still don't know if doing so would have been cause to be unfit for military service (I mean, it wasn't as if I had a bone spur!), but I was happy that I didn't have to find out.

Instead of living with only the shame and guilt that was my gender dysphoria, though, I added to it a guilt that I had escaped the draft for any reason. Years later, when I spoke of my guilt for not "doing my duty" to my infantry veteran brother-in-law, he told me that there was nothing for me to feel guilty about. This is the same man who did a 180 in his attitude after I came out, by the way. He died, a few years ago, of a cancer that the doctors suspected to be a result of his exposure to agent orange.

I have removed myself from any guilt for both my gender identity and escaping the draft. It has been replaced with an admiration for all those who are living their authentic (gender) lives, and those who have served our military. A special blessing for those who do both!

Whether or not my gender dysphoria would have dismissed me in 1970, it's interesting that the military, in 2019, definitely would. Of course, "don't ask/don't tell" works just as it did before."

Little did I know all the turmoil leading up to being drafted would pay so many dividends down the road. The biggest one of course was my daughter, as I met her mother (a WAC) in the Army. And farther down the road, I have taken advantage of educational assistance to earn another college degree plus I have utilized much needed VA health care for nearly eight years now. 
Yes, my major battle too was with my MtF gender dysphoria which I tried to cover through self medication. All of which is a trade I would have gladly made then, if i had only known.
I'm sorry for the loss of your brother in law, I had several friends who were never the same after returning from Vietnam. Plus one who never returned at all.
Another consideration many people don't think about is the percentage of transgender troops who serve firmly in the closet.  It turns out even I ended up knowing another trans person indirectly when I served.  It's a tragedy now more transgender women and men have the potential to be turned away  from the military.
Especially at the direction of a draft dodger who didn't serve at all.

Comments

  1. Trump's lottery number was 356, way after the 195 they went to that first lottery in 1969. Prior to the lottery, I guess he used his bone spur to make him ineligible. Had they taken him, though, he may well have been a 2nd Lieutenant, because he had already received his college degree. Considering that a platoon would have thought him to be a royal a-hole, he would probably now be but another name etched into the granite ("friendly" fire). I had considered enrolling in the ROTC program when the draft got close to my lottery number, until a vet who lived in my dorm told me how a 2LT was looked upon. Maybe Trump would have gone in as a General, though; he has said he's smarter than all of them, anyway.

    You were certainly not the only one self-medicating during that "war". Not the only transgender person, either, struggling internally with their gender identity. I'm glad that you got past that; many never do.

    Trump is all for closeted trans soldiers. He just doesn't want the "sissies" enlisting just to get GRS for free. With all due respect for the VA docs you are able to see, I think I would opt for another surgeon for that procedure.

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  2. Most certainly rump would have been nominated for the "frag" award. I too was encouraged to go in as an officer, since I had my college degree, but I not so politely declined as I valued my life more than a commission.
    FYI, the VA does not cover any surgery related to gender dysphoria, just the hormones, wigs etc.

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    1. I know that the VA does not cover the surgery, but Trump's administration has used the possibility that it would apply to active military - even though the cost would be but a small fraction of the entire military budget.

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  3. Connie, as your Brother in law said you had nothing to feel guilty about not serving. It's people like the Rump that has to apologize. As for outing yourself, unless you had documentation (something that was really hard to get back then) you might have been looked at as just another individual that was trying to get out of serving. I watched a guy wearing women's underwear get accepted because he didn't have a note from his doctor. Just a little background on me, my number was 72 in 1970 but I joined to at least give myself a little choice in how I would serve. I also joined because of the thought that the military would make a man out of me and end my GD. I can honestly state that it didn't chance anything except my choice in clothing during my on duty time.

    As Cyrsti discovered, the down the road benefits would come in handy. I am fully covered for medical by the VA and have discovered many of the benefits from service organizations that most would not qualify for.

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