Trans American Military Stories
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
September 21 2011 5:00 AM ET
lesbian, bisexual, and gay soldiers (not to mention future recruits) celebrate
the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the transgender community will continue to
serve in silence — if at all. The
repeal is, according to many transgender people, the community’s bridesmaid
Transgender American Veterans Association reports there could be up to 300,000
transgender military veterans in the U.S. today. In 2005, when the TAVA put a
wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, there was a transgender person
representing every U.S. military conflict since WWII.
the very psychological diagnosis that allows transgender folks to get medical
care — Gender Identity Disorder — makes them ineligible to serve. And those
who’ve gone through corrective surgeries are listed as having “physical
abnormalities.” Anyone who is caught wearing clothing of the perceived opposite
sex receives a court martial.
to “Transgender People in the
U.S. Military: Summary and Analysis of the 2008 Survey” by the
Transgender America Veterans Association the vast majority of
transgender vets are trans women (of those using VA hospitals, 13% identified
on the FTM spectrum, while 82% identified somewhere on the MTF spectrum)
although trans men were three times more likely than trans women to have been
asked by an officer about their sexual orientation (33% versus 11%).
Some trans vets have
become notable anti-war protestors (like Midge Potts, a 38-year old Gulf War
vet who was become a vocal opponent of Middle East occupations). But like
Potts, many of the 300,000 transgender vets are still proud of their service.
We talked to four of them.