Transgender Ban Sparks Positive Responses

Fight the ban FB blog

A new nonprofit created public space for transgender veterans as Trump’s transgender military ban went into effect Friday*.

The Minority Veterans of America (MVA), based in Seattle, hosted rallies in three cities. New York, Philidelphia and Seattle. While attendance was light, the message loomed large: we support you and will do so until the ban is lifted.

The crowd blog
A nice crowd braved the weather Saturday in Seattle.

Partnering agencies included, National Center for Transgender EqualityTransgender American Veterans AssociationThe American Military Partner AssociationGender Justice LeagueSeattle LGBTQ CommissionU.T.O.P.I.A., King County Veterans ConsortiumIngersoll Gender Center, Seattle Women’s CommissionNYC Veterans AllianceIraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Steel City Stonewall Democrats.

What I particularly liked about participating in the rally was its purpose:

“To build community space for our transgender service members and veterans to express themselves and find community as well as to build power through standing in solidarity with those impacted by this policy.”

I resonate with that. It’s better helping transgender veterans find empowerment. Doing so has far more beneficial effect than “fighting against”. This applies to anything people want to improve or change.

It’s standard practice these days to push against that which is unjust. The ban is unjust (and perhaps illegal). But pushing against it or trying to shout it down fuels the ban’s continued existence.

Lindsay Church, MVA President and co-founder reiterated her organization’s message at the Seattle event. This this was not a time for shouting or anger, she said. Rather, the rallies serve to build solidarity among underrepresented military veterans.

That’s a story me and The Transamorous Network can get behind.

Lindsay Church blog
Lindsay Church, MVA founder, speaking at the Seattle event.

In your personal life, if you’re a transgender service person, you may feel, angry, disempowered, depressed, anxious or fear. You don’t have to experience that. Negative emotions come from somewhere. They come from stories you’re telling yourself about what you’re looking at. You can just as easily tell positive stories about what you’re looking at. Instead of the ones creating your negative emotions. In doing so, you create exactly what you’re wanting: improvement. However that looks.

Even with the ban, there are a lot of stories you could tell that will empower you. They’ll conjure positive emotions about the ban (yes, actual positive emotions). Focus on those stories long enough and you’ll create a reality where the ban has little if any impact on your life. Down the line, you might discover the ban no longer exists.

There stories can replace ones making you feel angry, disempowered, depressed, anxious, or fear. They are as true as the negative stories you’re telling yourself today. But you’ll notice, if you tell them, you’ll feel better about what’s happening.

Feeling better is important. It’s telling you you are connected to an improved future as opposed to a future of more of the same. Feeling better is more powerful than you may know. If you’re new to our content, this may sound alien. But it’s accurate.

The following stories will trigger positive emotions even though the ban is in place:

  • This has happened before. And in every case such bans have fallen
  • I’m happy to see so many people working on my behalf to lift the ban
  • It’s incredible how many people are working on my behalf
  • I know I am on the right side of history
  • I know the world is becoming safer for transgender people
  • I know more LGBTQ and women are wining local, state and federal elections and so the future is bright for me
  • The California National Guard is refusing to implement the ban, that’s freaking awesome!
  • Over 100 congress persons oppose the ban, with many working behind the scenes to eliminate it. That’s awesome, there are a lot of people working on my behalf.
  • I appreciate those transgender service people directly impacted by the ban. They are the true casualties of this “war” on civil rights. While there are casualties in every war, it’s clear we will win this one. So the casualties will not be for nothing.
  • I appreciate those transgender service people speaking their truth out loud. They’re becoming celebrities in their own right. That alone may change their lives for the better. Were it not for this ban that may not have happened. So there’s good stuff coming from this too.

There are a lot more I could offer, but I feel better reading those ten. Maybe you too. And of course, your reality must fall in line with any story you tell consistently in your life. Any story triggering emotional response creates reality if you don’t oppose it. Yes, such stories even change political reality.

A state of freedom, empowerment and positivity is the only state from which one can help others. MVA’s rally Saturday recognized community can be more powerful than resisting. It was beautiful to both watch and take part in.

Particularly impressive was U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patricia King. She zeroed in on the main culprit sparking this ban: ignorance. The people acting out of ignorance aren’t bad. They’re ignorant. Can you get mad at someone who’s ignorant? Maybe. But does that fix anything? Or is it better to help that person rise out of ignorance?

I think the latter is so much more productive. And, it can create an ally.

Patricia King blog
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patricia King

One thing I shared during my speech was how important one-on-one conversations are. Patricia spoke about this too. One-on-one conversations with people on the opposite side of the issue can be powerful. That way, people can learn transgender people are human. Not boogymen.

Here are some helpful tips on doing that, from our sister organization Positively Focused. They’re worth looking at.

There’s so much more I could say about these events and MVA. They are rising at the right time in history. I met MVA’s senior leadership over the weekend. Quite an impressive team. Everyone has their hearts in the right place. And they overflow with talent, compassion and commitment for helping underrepresented minority veterans.

I’m eager to see how MVA creates space for community going forward. I can’t help think those results will help non-veteran transgender people too. After all, the minority veteran community is a reflection of our national one.

And as we’re all human, we’re all in this together.


*Over 13,000 transgender troops could be effect by the ban. Injunctions on the ban had been in place until late last week, when the last one fell. What this means is transgender individuals will be precluded from enlisting and serving in the U.S. military solely based on gender identity (There only exception that will be granted will be for current service members who enlisted between Jan. 2016 and April 12, 2019 who received a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria and have a note from a physician and mental health professional that they have been stable in their gender for 18 months.).

DOD weighs in on Trump’s trans-ban-tweet

dodlogoIn a word, I’d say the interim policy is “reasonable”

So last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis came out with a four-point “interim guidance” on how Trump’s transgender “ban” would be implemented. In my opinion, as a nine year military veteran, the guidance strikes a balance between what the president decreed and honoring our service members who happen to be trans.

The guidance’s four points begin with a direct statement from the defense department, which speaks volumes about how defense department considers and respects transgender service members. This is straight from the policy, quoted word-for-word:

“First and foremost, we will continue to treat every service member with dignity and respect,”

It then lists the four points:

  1. Accessions: The procedures dated April 28, 2010, which generally prohibit the accession of transgender individuals into the military services remain in effect, because existing or history of gender dysphoria — a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life — or gender transition does not meet medical standards subject to the normal waiver process.
  2. Medical care and treatment: Service members who receive a gender dysphoria diagnosis from a military medical provider will be given treatment for the diagnosed medical condition. As directed by the memorandum, no new sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel will be permitted after March 22, 2018, except as necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her gender.
  3. In-service transition for transgender service members: The policies and procedures in DoDI I300.28 dated July 1, 2016, remain in effect until the defense secretary puts into effect DoD’s final guidance.
  4. Separation and retention of transgender service members: Service members who have completed their gender transition process, and whose gender marker has been changed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System will continue to serve in their preferred gender while the interim guidance is in effect.

Now, I’ve learned, and heard it said, that a policy is a good one if both sides leave the negotiations table unhappy. This means both sides had to “give” in order to reach a compromise. It should be noted that these four points are a perfect example of that.

For one, it offers a reasonable rationale for not allowing transgender people suffering from “gender dysphoria” to enter into the service. There are of course, gradations of what gender dysphoria looks like or how it is experienced. I do understand many markers of gender dysphoria are exacerbated by an intolerant society. In many cases, a person suffering from gender dysphoria is not in a condition to whether battlefield conditions or the stress of being in the military. The same is true for other mental issues, including depression or schizophrenia example.

There are policies in place in the DOD to screen out people suffering from all kinds of  conditions. These policies are not an indictment of individuals. The DOD is not saying a schizophrenic, or a person without a high school diploma for that matter, is a bad person, for example, or morally unworthy, so he can’t serve. I think the same would be the case for a transgender person.

This would be a great test of this new policy —-> if a person already has had their GCS and can show he or she or they do not suffer from gender dysphoria, can they then serve? It seems, according to this interim policy, that there will be room for these kinds of people to serve with no problem. It is a critical distinction that will have to be tested in real life.

For example, a potential recruit who is transgender would have to test whether what I’m saying here would work. I think it might.

I’ve written the DOD the question. Here’s what I wrote:

I have a question about the interim guidance on transgender people in the military. I’ve read the interim guidance news release. I’m a former Marine (9 years 1st MarDiv).

So let’s say a transgender person shows up at the recruiting station. They already have had their surgeries and possess a medical document attesting a clean bill of health vis-a-vis “gender dysphoria.” All other factors being equal, can that person join the service of their choosing presuming they are otherwise qualified?

I’m eager to see how they respond.

The second guideline relates to all this. It seems a bit contradictory when the military will gladly, for example, pay for someone to go to college. Such an expense is high in many

Defense Secretary James Mattis


Service members who become higher-educated are better service members. Can’t the same thing be said for providing GCS surgeries? I think they are comparable in price. And it could be argued that both not having a higher education and requiring GCS are pre-existing conditions. But I can also see the other argument here.

The good news of the second guidance point is the DOD isn’t cutting off current service members who are in the midst of transition. Such military personnel have until 2018, and, if the procedure is needed for life-threatening reasons, it can still be performed after that.

I’ll skip point three because it preserves the status quo.

Which brings me to point four. The interim guidance allows existing trans service members to continue to serve – for now – once they have “completed” their transition. I know, “transition” lasts a lifetime. But in the world of policy making, more distinct definitions must be drawn to come to agreement.

Intrestingly, the guidance also allows existing qualified transgender service members to reenlist if they desire. That’s a plus.

Then there’s this:

As directed by the memorandum, no action may be taken to involuntarily separate or discharge an otherwise qualified service member solely on the basis of a gender dysphoria diagnosis or transgender status. Transgender service members are subject to the same standards as any other service member of the same gender: They may be separated or discharged under existing bases and processes, but not on the basis of a gender dysphoria diagnosis or transgender status.

This is the coolest part of the directive. It prohibits any current service member being involuntarily discharged from the military because of their status. I think that’s great. It’s nod to honoring those currently serving.

You can read the press release here.

I’m eager to hear what you think. I’m not suggesting my view is the right one. It is one though that comes from seeing the positive side. If you do respond, please be prepared to elaborate on your statements. I prefer a dialogue, not drive-byes.

If you’re not recognizing how many people support you, you’re not paying attention

Now more than everThere is ENORMOUS outpouring of support from all over the place indicating the tide has turned. More and more people are supporting you, transgender folks. If you’re still wallowing in negative stories, there’s no better time than now to start examining them.

Trans-loving men (you trans-attracted and transamorous ones), there’s no reason for you to remain in hiding. The women you love are increasingly being not only defended, but supported by larger members of society.

Even in the midst of turmoil under Trump, that turmoil has not silenced the support outpouring. It has done the exact opposite. Check it out:

All across America, people are fighting for your rights. In Texas, the dreaded bathroom bill collapsed again, due in part not only to families of transgender people, but, get this, republican legislative leaders. I’m not making this up. Meanwhile, this awesome camp for transgender youth is getting tons of media coverage as an early-stage refuge for these young pioneers. Here’s another doing the same thing.

Here’s a lawyer fighting for the community on his own.

And even Richard Simmons is getting in on the act in his own weird way.

You can choose where to put your focus. But where you choose to put it has a profound effect on your personal life. If I were you, I’d focus on all the good coming your way. Celebrate it, tell your friends about it, Facebook about it, and see how your life gets better.