An argument for trans service
I often find myself on different websites reading the threads and comments. I typically advise others to avoid this practice, but personally I am not too affected by negative comments and arguments against my points of view. I recently encountered many comments on a thread that were aguing against trans service. Below is the response that I wrote. I thought I would go ahead, capture it and post it here as well. Feel free to read it and leave me comments if you like.
"Nothing is too girly and nothing is too masculine. But I do love color, and maybe that's a little girly - especially pink." Stacy London
If I tell you that my arm is really bothering me, you tell me to go see a doctor. If I tell you that I am incredibly depressed, you tell me to go see a psychologist. And in both cases you will likely tell me to follow the doctors’ orders. Now as a transgender woman I have seen two doctors, one on post and one off. I have also seen two psychologists, again one on post and one off. All four of these medical professionals with over 20 years of combined medical schooling came up with the same diagnosis. I am transgender. And all of them had the same treatment option, transition. My transition is monitored closely by my doctor and at this point I pay for all of that out of pocket because Tricare doesn't yet cover my care like it might a vasectomy, a gastric bypass surgery, Lasik eye surgery or such. I find it interesting that we tell people to seek medical treatment and listen to our doctor but in the case of transgender people we dismiss both the diagnosis and treatment plan.
But wait, I know there are more arguments against. If this is the case then why let me serve? Perhaps you will argue that this is a mental disability. The DSM-V designates being transgender as a disorder not a mental illness. It is also not listed as a sexual disorder. That is an important distinction. Also, the American Medical Association unanimously determined last month that there is no medically relevant reason not to let transgender people serve openly. Yes we have medication that we take, but I submit that it has no bearing on my medical readiness. That has been determined by my PCM and many trans Service Members have deployed while on their medications...just as many other service members take medications while down range. The surgeries that we may or may not get have the same recovery times as most other surgeries do with less than 90 days spent on profile.
So many of the issues that we face are not medical, they are societal. While we do not fall under title, 7 all federal employees who do are afforded protections for gender identity. This simply means that their pronouns are respected, they can use the proper bathroom, and they may wear clothes that fit with their gender identity. What does that mean for you? What it means is that if you had a federal employee or contractor working in your formation area right now who was transgender you would be required to respect them. Why is it that we need a requirement? Why can you not respect me in the same manner?
Where should I shower, where should I sleep, what PT standards should I follow? These are all interesting but ultimately commonsense questions. I don't have the answers but 11 partner nations do as well as the NCAA, OSHA and the board of labor, not to mention many American universities. Canada, Britain, Israel, Australia and several of our other partners allow open trans service and have for years with little or no incident.
We know that a shift is coming and some day open trans service is going to happen. As leaders we need to be prepared to meet that change head on. We need to understand that a person in our formation may be that transgender Service Member and how we receive this change will affect them. Thank you for your respect
Patricia King SSG USA Infantry