Former US Marine: Let trans people fight the same fight as everyone else
A trans former military service member has spoken out about the potential to have the ban on transgender people serving in the US military lifted.
The US military continues to ban transgender people from serving under outdated medical regulations – which disqualifies people from service if they have “current or history of psychosexual conditions, including but not limited to transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias”.
This lifting of the ban will benefit many people as it is currently estimated by the National Center for Transgender Equality, more than 134,000 American veterans are transgender, while more than 15,000 are currently serving.
Joselin, Cleveland, will be one of the many to benefit from the lifting of the ban. For much of her life she hid who she was, and at age eighteen she enlisted in the military and her secret became buried even further.
First Joselin was a lance corporal in the US marine corps, then was a technical sergeant in the Air Force. In 2008, she left the military and started her transition from male to female.
“I didn’t want to hear the whispers and the jokes. I grew up with a lot of it, and I didn’t want to relive any of that.” She told NewsNet5.
Joselin continued: “It’s not a place for sissies, or a place for opinions.”
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Transitioning is banned under current rules, and out transgender military members can be fired.
On the Department of Defence’s website, a statement from Defense Secretary Ash Carter says: “We have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.”
The military will conduct a six-month review to assess the potential impact of the change, ironing out the “legal, medical and administrative” issues before going ahead.
The services will also develop training to allow people to transition more easily.
It is understood that trans people will not be allowed to join until at least when the review is complete – but existing servicepeople who come out as transgender before it is concluded will be referred to the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel, and are unlikely to be dismissed.
Although Joselin believes that this is the right step to take, she also believes that it may not be the easiest: “You have to educate people. You have to tell them, ‘Look, it’s really none of your business, don’t treat these people any different. They’re here serving by your side for the same cause, fighting the same fight. Let them.” She said.