Monday, October 27, 2014

You’re In The Army Now

While I was up at Fantasia Fair there was a series of news articles about integrating the military. For me the issue is simple, anyone who wants to sever their country should be able to serve.
Transgender Troops In Other Nations Are Proof That Inclusive Militaries Work
Huffington Post: Gay Voices
By Jennifer Bendery
Posted: 10/21/2014

Murray [a trans-service member from Canada] was one of more than a dozen speakers at a first-of-its-kind event on Monday: an international conference of transgender military service members, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union. Eighteen countries currently allow transgender people to serve openly -- the United States is not among them -- and transgender troops from five of those countries gathered in Washington, D.C., to share lessons learned and, perhaps, to influence U.S. policy.

Speakers at the event revealed the sharp contrast between the United States' military policy on transgender people and the military policies of some of its closest allies. The Supreme Court of Canada, for example, ruled in 1992 that it was unconstitutional to ban people from serving based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In the United Kingdom, there's never been a ban. Instead, it's been a matter of keeping military personnel educated on LGBT issues over the years.
I have stated over and over that the U.S. should follow the lead of other countries an integrate the military. The Canadian Daily Mail wrote,
The panel, convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University, said the ban has existed for several decades and apparently was derived in part from the psychiatric establishment's consensus, since revised, that gender identity issues amounted to a mental disorder.

The ban also appears based on the assumption that providing hormone treatment and sex reassignment surgeries would be too difficult, disruptive and expensive.

But the commission rejected those notions as inconsistent with modern medical practice and the scope of health care services routinely provided to non-transgender military personnel.

'I hope their takeaway will be we should evaluate every one of our people on the basis of their ability and what they can do, and if they have a condition we can treat we would treat it like we would treat anyone else,' Elders said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Britain’s Guardian had a quote from Joshua Block, a lawyer with the ACLU,
“President Truman signed an executive order integrating the military based on race long before the supreme court held that segregation was unconstitutional and the same thing happened when the military repealed ‘don’t ask don’t tell’, so I think the same can be true here.”
As an aside, a number of years ago I went to a talk by then senator Blumenthal on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and at the end in the Q&A session I asked him a question about transgender military service members. he responded say the repeal would not cover trans service members but that he was concerned about our exclusion. When I commented about my question on Pam’s House Blend I got stepped all over by gays who said that I was hijacking their issue.

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