The Post-DADT Battle for Trans Servicemembers

Transgender activist Autumn Sandeen stood with Dan Choi and other LGBT servicemembers outside of the White House. Via AP.

Amanda Hess has an important post from last week discussing the political issues surrounding the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal and the struggle that trans servicemembers have had and are facing now that DADT is on its way out. Between some feeling sold out to their fellow gay and lesbian servicemembers, to the growing campaign among trans activists for the right to serve, it’s a must-read:

[A]s the gays and lesbians who joined Sandeen in protest prepare for open military service, trans men and women are being warned to remain in the closet. The National Center for Transgender Equality has advised trans soldiers to “be aware that coming out as transgender will almost certainly end your career in the military, may lead to disciplinary action, and can have other very negative outcomes for you, and your family.” A Department of Defense report on DADT further clarifies the issue: “Transgender and transsexual individuals are not permitted to join the Military Services,” the report reads. “The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has no effect on these policies.”

[...] For some trans activists, DADT was more like a slam. “The more that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was talked about and acted upon, the less they wanted to be concerned about us,” says Monica Helms, head of the Transgender American Veterans Association. “Now, I see all this celebration. Everyone is patting each other on the back, and we’re saying, ‘Hello? Hello? What about us?’”

One person of note is Autumn Sandeen, a transgender activist and fantastic blogger over at Pam’s House Blend who handcuffed herself to the White House fence with gay and lesbian servicemembers pre-repeal. Now, it’s their turn for solidarity. “I’m going to hold LGBT activists accountable for what they are going to do next.” Make sure to read the whole post.

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