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.”
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.
Reserve recruiters dream of people like Morgan Wade walking into their office. She had a sterling service record, was on the fast track to chief petty officer, and qualified in a field where the demand for skilled individuals is high. Top it off with a clear background check and a clean bill of health, and it should be easy, right?
Cyprus in the Mediterranean, and Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, are a literally a world apart from each other. What do these places have in common? In short, the answer is drugs, the kind transgender people desperately need for transitions but often are unable to obtain through normal channels. Read about the difficulty in legally obtaining Hormone Replacement Therepy and the ease of it through these two countries.
For whatever reason, this song has become traditional to the New Year. The Scottish phrase “auld lang syne” best translates as “for old times’ sake.” It asks us to reflect on friendship, and times past. After the most tumultuous year of my life I have had the opportunity to take stock of old acquaintances, and consider what has come and gone.
“There are no right or wrong answers. Just your own.” Trans families face a unique set of challenges but one thing is for sure: they are fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, husbands and wives – facing challenges together and doing their best to love and care for each other, just like any family.
In the late fall of 2001 I got back from my second deployment with HSL-46. The post-deployment period gave me a lot more free time. As always, this gave my dysphoria a chance to manifest itself. I didn’t know what to do; it was more palpable than ever before.
I listened to three very courageous women, veterans, tell us what it was like to be transgender in AND out of uniform. I listened more than I have in a long time and the stories were overwhelming. It was too much to take in all at once, but I couldn’t get enough.