Showing posts with label Outserve Magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outserve Magazine. Show all posts

Friday, June 7, 2013

Coming Out to Yourself

What do all of these comments have in common with me?

"Just what we need, another old guy on hormones."
"If you waited until you were 60 to start transitioning, you are not a real transgender person."
"Isn't it too late in life to transition?"



What they have in common is all of them have been messaged to me here in Cyrsti's Condo.

Everyonce in a while, I find a very well presented answer:

"Realization that one is trans can take anywhere from a few moments to several decades. Usually, trans people have an inkling early on in their lives that their assigned gender feels out of sync with their bodies. The self-realization process is extremely complicated. The human mind does its best to help us survive, which can translate into triggering intense denial. Because of societal constraints, it is common for a person to try to ignore signs pointing toward transgenderism, whether consciously or unconsciously."

This is only one of several enlightening, educational thoughts on transgender women and men from a Huffington Post article here

Not so incidentally, the page also includes this link
to Outserve Magazine and a chance meeting between a transgender vet and  President Obama.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trans Troops

As a transgender vet, one of my priorities here in Cyrsti's Condo is passing along any transgender related service news I can find.
Much of it comes from OutServe Magazine.

This story from OutServe certainly has a "been there-done it" ring to it.  But in this one Evan Young comes from the different side of the gender fence for most of us trans girls here. You see, Evan is a transgender man in the military:

"Underneath my cover, I walk a straight line, returning salutes as I pass. A sergeant salutes and says, “Good morning, Sir.” A warm glow flushes my cheeks, and I reply, “Good morning!” Closer to work a familiar face draws near and salutes; “Good morning, Ma’am.” A heavy feeling of discontent weighs on me, and I return the salute with the grudging reply, “Good morning.” I am a transgender military officer.

Outside of work, I live my life as a man. Once on post, I am female. My short hair and manly features present an androgynous and confusing appearance. I grew up in Arkansas, and knew that many outsiders perceived women there as “barefoot and pregnant” rednecks. That stereotype drove me to move out of the state and join the Army. I wanted to be on an equal footing with men. I found new confidence along the way as my drive to exceed expectations helped me rise through the ranks. Yet, I always had the feeling of being a second class soldier because of my gender. Males have confidence ingrained in them at an early age. Men are encouraged to stand up for themselves and speak their mind. When they don’t, they are often labeled effeminate or called derogatory terms such as faggot or princess. The “stereotypical male” role is enforced by men as well as women. A woman speaking to a man that seems effeminate will treat him differently."

I have several transgender veteran friends who have wondered with me what life would be like in today's military as a trans person-walking a precarious gender line.

To read more of Evan's insight,  look here.

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!