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Chelsea Manning and being transgender in the military

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  Things have changed in the military since 1975 when I got honorably discharged from the Navy as an aviation fire control technician. I did not disclose my dysphoria then as I successfully "manned-up" during that period. There were a couple of cases of gender dysphoria that was in the works shortly after I left the Navy but those cases ended up with discharges after a few months of deliberations by the brass involved. Also they were putting women on non-combatant ships such as the oilers and reefer ships. There was a kangaroo trial about some these women accused of being lesbians. There were a few discharges awarded to these women from that and the urging of the retirement of the older officers involved in the prosecution as that trial was messy and got negative press coverage.



--- Quote from: Georgette on May 21, 2017, 02:26:46 am ---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.

--- End quote ---

There has always been some latitude depending on your service and local command, with the Navy and Air Force generally being (much) more lenient than the Army or Marines, and you had a much better chance of being accepted by your command and peers if you were in a support-type unit and not combat arms.  However, being transgender was always a disqualifying medical "disorder" that could get you discharged, as well as crossdressing.  It would typically be a honorable or general under honorable conditions discharge, same as being homosexual.

That being said, I knew many gay service members prior to lifting the "gay ban" in the military who did not exactly hide their sexuality, but the command "looked the other way" and didn't press the issue.  Generally, if a gay person belonged to a tolerant command, behaved conservatively at work and were careful about what they did outside of work, they might manage. 

Fortunately for them, it has generally been easier for transgender (and gay) females to thrive in the military, as they can act, look and behave as masculine as they want (at work and outside of work) and it is considered being "tough".  If a male acts feminine, it definitely was not tolerated in the same way.


--- Quote from: Georgette on May 21, 2017, 02:43:46 pm ---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.

--- End quote ---
She was a senior advisor in my therapy group so I saw her weekly for almost 6 years. Other than that, I never saw anything in the paper about her and what I know about her was told to me directly or by people I am in contact with after we went our separate ways.


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