Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Military Service Over He Is She

The Chapel Hill News has a great article (part 1 in a series of 2) by Tammy Grubb about Sam Taylor, Army soldier, chaplain assistant and transgender woman.

There is too much to the article to give it any justice in this short posting but it and I'm sure the followup are worth a read.

Briefly Taylor's journey takes him from identifying and living as a woman then having to put that part of his life back in the closet as he serves in the Army including service in Iraq.

Re-assuming a male identity was hard, but being openly transgender isn't an option in the military, Taylor said. You live a long time in close proximity to others, and every email or Facebook comment can be scrutinized. Daily attacks only add to the stress.

Last month Tammye Nash of The Dallas Voice wrote about the lifting of Don't Ask Don't Tell allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly but with transgenders still having to stay in the closet and shadows while in military service.

“Trans people still have to be deep in the closet. They can’t talk to anyone about their lives, or they risk being discharged and getting something other than an honorable discharge,” Monica Helms added. “Because the kind of discharge you get can make a huge difference in what kind of benefits you can get.”

Helms is president and co-founder of Transgender American Veterans Association.
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