Community Conversation > Military Veterans Confab

Chelsea Manning and being transgender in the military

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V M:
The Chelsea Manning case is unique in that she is viewed as a deserter for walking off from her posted duty

Granted, in the past if you were "found out" it was treated more like a marriage annulment given an ambiguous discharge, denial of all benefits and basically treated as if you never existed

From what I understood, the policy to discharge TG didn't come in until the 80s.

I was unintentionally outed when in the Navy around 72-73.  After visiting the Psychiatrists and Security people, I only considered my self as a CD back then, found to be no security or other risk, and told to just go back to work.  They were only interested in any homosexual activity, plus we had Vietnam War still going on, and needed my type of work.

I was a Fire Control Tech, on a missile submarine.  Worked on the computers programming the launch of said missiles.  Also was the Launch Control Petty Officer at that time.  I had a Top Secret + security clearance.

They did offer about a year later a General Discharge, similar to Honorable, with full benefits.  I was at the end of my 5 years of a 6 year enlistment.

All in all it worked out for the best, as I then went to work as a computer contractor on US Dept of Defense projects until I retired in 2011.  Just had to keep the security people up on any changes, like name change and SRS surgery.  Maintained a Secret to Top Secret during my career.

Always wondered if any others had similar experiences.  Or any that did get discharged.

Joanna Clark is the one I am most familiar with. She has a different way of describing what the military did to her but because of the settlement she had with the military, I am sure she left out many of the juicy details in the retelling. Her temperament made her perfect for the military and I am sure she would have spent her life in the service of her country but the military didn't agree.

I knew one person that was discharged.  But she did something really dumb.  She drove through a checkpoint dressed where they always stopped everyone to check military IDs.

Conform and be dull. —James Frank Dobie, The Voice of the Coyote


Thank You for that link about Joanna Clark.  Can't say I have heard of her tale before.  So hard to find information back in those days.

Seems like our coming out times in the Navy was around the same time, maybe one result influenced the other.  Might be a reason why they asked if I wanted to leave in 73-74.  I had not intended to stay past my 6 years, so jumped at the chance.


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