Showing posts with label Brynn Tannehill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brynn Tannehill. Show all posts

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk!  It's Sunday here in the Condo and time for a cup o joe and our Sunday edition.

Page 1.- Really Chuck? Recently in a totally unbelievable moment, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his cronies in the Pentagon got together and hurt their backs as they patted each other for the new diversity and equal opportunity in the U.S. military.  Of course Chuck happened to forget the transgender military members who are banned from serving.  They either serve in fear of discovery which could lead to loss of jobs and careers, or are separated from duty.  For the life of me, I can not understand how this hypocrisy on the highest level is continuing to be supported by congress and especially a so called "liberal" president. How big a hole does OBama have in the White House lawn to bury his head in the dirt and ignore this?

Also on the subject of trans vets, I should get a chance to meet one of the leading transgender military activists, Brynn Tannehill (shown above) at the Trans Ohio Symposium coming up this month in Columbus.

Page 2.- Really Cyrsti?  Like a college student who puts off studying for a long time and ends up running out of time, I find myself in crunch mode for my work shop at the fore mentioned Trans Ohio event.  My basic theme is "MtF Transitioning later in Life."  I presented it  last year, so I know much more on what to expect. The real problem is my book, Stiletto's on Thin Ice" which I pledged to have done by then.  Come hell or high water, I will, but the fact remains I'm a terrible closer.  Always have had a difficult time finishing projects.  To the right is a cover image I'm working on because my budget is non existent.  Certainly, I'm not looking to get rich or win a Pulitzer Prize - I just want to do it-preferably before I die. Which leaves me approximately another four weeks.

Page 3.- "Mo" Mail!  We have had so much mail around here (and I thank you all soooo much :) I am finally getting around to answering it all.  I got to most of Connie's comments yesterday and it's time to get to more today:  Our Prom Daze post struck a cord with many including Mandy Sherman:

The 'male privilege' I was allowed was severely restricted - more like completely hogtied. Rules I had to deal with included, but were not limited to: I couldn't drive her anywhere, for any reason, at any time. We either had to take public transportation and bring a chaperone along (no public transportation available in our rural area), pay for a limousine and bring a chaperone along (the limo driver was not a sufficient chaperone), or have my father (NOT my mother - do you see a touch of discrimination there?) drive us. With the price of a limousine what it was, fortunately good old Dad agreed to being chauffeur and chaperone.

This is a great comment from Mandy and there is much more to it.  As is another comment from Connie on the same subject.  Follow the link above to see them. Perhaps all the feminists who love to bitch about the male privilege bit, just need to understand each gender's grass is never as green as you think it will be. (No cheap shots about smoking it!)

To Pat, about the "The Transvestite Diet" post: I don't don't if she did too much dieting or if was a hoax or if the wife found out, but it seems to have disappeared.  (Liz told me a day later the blog was gone.)  My question was going to be if this person was on HRT or not.  The hormones of course have a dramatic effect on weight gain (and loss).  The male metabolism slows and a few of the meds want to make you eat your wall paper off the wall or maybe even your cat.  But alas, we may never know. Plus normally when I plug someones book here in Cyrsti's Condo I get a response and I got "nuttin honey!"

Page 4.- My Grandson Speaks.  This week I posted a comment from my 10 year old grandson saying I was his hero because I was gay.  My daughter was a little surprised and said that's wonderful but your grandpa is not gay-but transgender:

Pat commented:
Good luck. It is harder to explain T issues than gay issues. I am sure that you will remain or at least regain hero status. At a minimum he will come to recognize the courage that it has taken for you to be true to yourself while still fulfilling your obligations of being his grandparent and the parent of his mother.

Thanks Pat, he is an incredibly diverse kid already.  His fourth grade teacher last year is a very out gay man and one of the top drag performers in the Dayton, Ohio area.  He was just taking the easy route to connecting the dots.  We all know the difference in light years of being gay versus transgender and once he grasps it, all he will have to do is change the wording from "hero" to " heroine" I hope.  One way or another, it will be time for a sit down talk with him and older sister this June when they are out of school.

Back Page.- WHEW! We had a lot to cover this week.  I hope the delivery person didn't heave this issue through your window!  As always....you all are the best and my special positive thoughts go out to all of those of you in or near where the tornadoes hit!  Sort of a constant reminder of how small we really are.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Behind

I have been behind it seems this time, for the past several days.  When that happens, I rediscover posts I wanted to pass along to you here in Cyrsti's Condo.  One is from Brynn Tannehill in an article she wrote for the Huffington Post called "Paper's Please"  If you don't know, Byrnn is a transgender vet and Director of Advocacy for SPART*A.  

Her very detailed post follows the incredibly convoluted path transgender and transsexual women and men follow in their lives-in and out of military circles.  Here's an excerpt and you can follow the link above for more:

Imagine for a moment you work at a U.S. military base as a contractor. You step out of a bathroom after using it, and are immediately confronted by someone with base security. He demands you present identification proving your gender, otherwise he will arrest you. Your mind races, blood pounds in your ears, flight or fight kicks in -- being arrested will probably cost you your clearance, your job and any chance you have of working in your career field again.

It's no surprise to those of us who spent a significant amount of time in the closet, how scary all of this can be-and kept us in the closet.   Then I began to wonder about those overly ignorant human's who think we trans folk had a choice in all of this?  I constantly remind myself that no matter how much I enjoy where my gender life is now, if I had a real live choice to never go on this journey-would I? No I wouldn't and it's very difficult to explain to my friends what a luxury it would have been to have known what gender I was when I woke up in the morning. That's usually a real conversation stopper!

The "choice" idea is nearly as ludicrous as the occasional on line "genius" who tells me HRT must be great since I have my own boobs to play with.  Tough to explain to such a suave guy, yes it is nice to have my own breasts as an expression of my femininity.

But, let's face it, the world will always have it's share of those who are just innocent ignorant.  They just don't know much about transgender individuals and we should be able to educate them.  The ignorant bigots are the tough crowd and some how some way we need to keep fighting to beat them down.  Hopefully, along the way the gender marker problems will go down with them.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Transgender Spouses in the Military

Seemingly, when it rains it pours with posts concerning transgender veterans and their interaction when serving on active duty and after they are discharged.

You regulars here in Cyrsti's Condo know I am a transgender Viet Nam era veteran of the U.S Army, so of course I have a very active interest in all the happenings.

Another very active source for news is Out Serve Magazine and in particular Brynn Tannehill who writes:

"In the past few months, same sex military partners have been part of the collective American conversation. When the Fort Bragg Spouse’s Club resorted to naked discrimination and active condescension to keep Ashley Broadway out, it was splashed all over the news. When Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta extended as many benefits as possible to married same sex partners under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the LGB community celebrated. When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Article III of DOMA, the plight of same sex military couples was front and center in the reasons for striking the law down. However, as all this was going on, I realized that another situation has gone unmentioned. What happens when the spouse of a military person is transgender? Some might argue that this is a very rare situation, and doesn’t need attention. However, my recent interactions with a number of transgender people associated with the military say that this situation is far more common than people realize.

A few weeks ago a trans woman in the Dayton area sent me a message asking me if I remembered a female colonel I worked for while I was still on active duty. I did, and replied that I liked her because she generally had a good read on who everyone in the command was and what they were doing. What she wrote next blew my mind. “She came out as a lesbian after she retired in 2008. We’re married now.” A little further digging revealed that they had met and gotten married after the trans woman had transitioned. However, because of military regulations and DOMA, the trans woman did not have base access, Tricare, or any of the other benefits the spouse of a retired colonel would normally have. In short, the military regards them as a same sex couple. But my marriage is regarded as a heterosexual one because I transitioned after we were married, even though in both cases we are trans women married to another woman.

At about the same time, I also spoke with a trans man in the military. He talked about the difficulties he and his boyfriend, a civilian trans man who lives in Washington DC, expect if they get married. Another situation that came up in discussion recently was a trans woman (MTF) I know who is closeted, but on active duty. She is married to a trans man (FTM) who is just starting transition. When the trans man civilian spouse went to medical to start hormone therapy, they refused to treat him unless his spouse came in and verified that she knew what was happening and approved.

Given all of these situations, figuring out which marriages the government will regard as gay or straight is a mind boggling exercise in one of the grayest areas of law. In the case of the retired colonel, the marriage is gay, but only because the trans woman transitioned before the marriage and wasn’t born in Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee, or Texas (where birth certificate gender changes are not legally allowed). However, the two trans men may or may not be a gay marriage, depending if the one in DC changed his SSN gender marker before or after they got married. The trans woman in the military married to a trans man is a heterosexual couple, but the trans man can’t change his gender in DEERS because of DOMA."

In addition, I live close to the Dayton, Ohio area mentioned above.

At the least- as Brynn wrote- this whole situation deals in the deepest shade of gender gray there is and this just scratches the surface. To read more go here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Mentally Ill Was I?

As I am fond of saying, if I was or am the diagnosis certainly has nothing to do with my transgender identification.
The was I'm referring to was the time I served in the U.S Army.
As a transgender vet, one of my favorite blog stops is Outserve Magazine and Brynn Tannehill.

Over the next few weeks, she is going to be writing several articles concerning the question of open transgender service. This first excerpt comes from her views of the policy trans men and women can't serve because of the now hopeless outdated mental illness questions:


"For 45 years there have been transgender individuals who have functioned at the highest levels of their fields. Lynn Conway is one of the people most responsible for the microprocessor revolution of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. She was also on Board of Visitors at the United States Air Force Academy, and a civilian two-star equivalent at DARPA. Dr. Christine McGinn was an astronaut qualified flight surgeon in the Navy. Amanda Simpson is a Presidential appointee to the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Dr. Chloe Schwenke is a Presidential appointee to a director’s position at USAID. The list goes on and on, but it puts to rest the notion that gender dysphoria is a debilitating mental illness. It’s a medical condition that doesn’t prevent people from doing their jobs, and often those people are doing them extremely well. Being trans hasn’t been an adverse indicator for security clearances since the mid-1990s. Given that, the government has tacitly recognized that gender dysphoria doesn’t imply an inability to function, nor does it imply a dysphoric person is untrustworthy. It also begs the question: if the U.S. government was and is willing to trust Lynn and Amanda with the highest levels of decision making and responsibility for national security, why is it also unwilling to trust a gender dysphoric culinary specialist third class with making sloppy joes? While the Associated Press and some LGBT media outlets picked up this story, there are few outside the trans community aware of this shift. The paradigm among the public, and even amongst some members of the LGB community, remains that trans people are mentally ill or dysfunctional. This is not altogether different from how the public saw the APA’s decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM in 1973: it took a long time for this position to become the conventional wisdom as well."

Follow the link above for the entire post!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trans Politics

For all Americans, once again it's time for a presidential election.
Along the way, I have decided to stay sort of non political here in Cyrsti's Condo which is tough since I am a very political person.
With great interest, I have watched how this election is laying out.
I'm pretty jaded and don't think either political party is really interested in helping the average citizen much. If government just stayed out of the way, we would be a stronger country.

BUT
I can't help but think this year's Republican ticket has the real potential to set back our transgender rights for years. Specifically I just know (that somewhere down the line) a huge check was written in Chick Fil-A's name when the Republican VP candidate was announced.
So I know my vote isn't going to the chicken chain and their party.

Typically, there are many sub plots involved with any election. Here is an important one from a transgender vet publication Outserve.


The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that 25,000 transgender people could lose the right to vote due to voter ID laws. Many conservative states make obtaining a driver’s license with a trans person’s correct gender nearly impossible, or prohibitively expensive. As a result, up to 41 percent of trans people lack a correct driver’s license. While the map in the link above shows that this disenfranchisement is unlikely to affect the general election, or even statewide elections, it denies people the democratic voice we have fought for over the course of 226 years. Republicans don’t seem interested in trans people voting. When margins in elections get too narrow, though, democrats seem to prefer for military absentee ballots not be counted either. In closely contested Presidential races, the pattern has been for the democratic candidate to contest military absentee ballots (Bush v Gore), and for the republican to contest provisional ballots (Bush v Kerry). Voters with name discrepancies, like the transgender community, are typically forced to use provisional ballots. The math on why these two patterns happen is pretty simple; military people generally vote conservatively, and LGBT typically people vote for the more liberal candidate. There is an upside, I suppose. If the ban on trans people in the military ever ends, at least it will finally give both parties something they can agree on. They will finally have a demographic neither group wants voting.


In my case Brynn Tannehill who writes for Outserve and I both live in Ohio and she also goes into what she is facing voting on a local level.
Very soon I will be going down that same path!