Monday, May 30, 2016

Let Us Remember

Repost from May 25, 2015 - Memorial Day

All those who have served in the defense of our country, but let us also remember those who must keep silent because if they reveal their true gender they will not be able to serve. As people cerebrate that gay and lesbian servicemembers we seem to be lost in the celebration, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy with 21 other senators issued a press release that said in part…
"The repeal of DADT represented great progress toward eradicating a significant barrier to formal equality, but the military is not yet an equitable environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. The absence of formal equal opportunity protections not only undermines foundational American principles of fairness and equality, it also presents an unneeded risk to national security by negatively impacting the morale and readiness of our all-volunteer force. Conversely, an environment in which all service members can defend their country with honor and personal integrity, and without fear of discrimination, strengthens the bonds of shared sacrifice and maintains good order and discipline,"wrote the Senators.
It would have been a perfect opportunity to make a statement about changing the policy for trans servicemembers.

The Advocate in an op-ed, Gay Purple Heart Recipient Says 'Mission Not Accomplished' called for our inclusion,
It has been five years since President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but the military remains exclusionary. While we made huge strides in allowing LGB individuals to serve openly, we didn’t, as we say in the military, “accomplish the mission.” Our nation still does not allow our transgender brothers and sisters to wear the uniform and serve our country. Since my coming out in 2007, I've met many transgender people who served in the military but had to hide their gender identity. As a nation, we will never know just how many of our brothers and sisters died while still living and feeling the oppression of the closet; the fact that this is still happening is unconscionable. As I often say in most of my public speeches, we still have work to do. Aside from fixing the ban on out transgender military personnel, we still need to make sure the National LGBT Veterans Memorial gets completed so we can best remember those in our community who worked so hard to preserve our way of life.
I know perhaps a dozen trans servicemembers who served in silence it is time for them to get recognition for their military service.

A year ago trans servicemembers were promised they would be welcome to serve in the military, they were promised that the policy barring them from the serving would be removed... we are still waiting. It is time to let all servicemembers who want to serve, serve.

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