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Meet the First Out Transgender Active Duty Army Officer 'Compatible With Military Service' - VIDEO

(Images via Facebook)

Earlier this week, Buzzfeed carried an interview with Army Medical Corp doctor and major Jamie Lee Henry, “the first known active-duty Army officer to come out as transgender.”

Henry is also likely to be “the first and only active duty service member who has changed her name and gender within the United States military.”

Jamie-Lee-Henty_IDIn the interview, she says that when she requested her name and gender be officially changed earlier this year, the Army - which officially classes transgender people as “incompatible with military service” - “actually used female pronouns in the document” that granted the request for the change.

Henry says her story proves that despite the official position, being out and trans is compatible with military service and that being trans has made her a better service member and better doctor. She also says that despite her fears, “my commander said, ‘I don’t care who you love, I don’t care how you identify, I want you to be healthy and I want you to be able to do your job.’”

She adds:

“Yes, it’s awkward. I’ve had to embrace awkwardness with gusto these last nine months. It’s not easy. It’s not easy for the people that are my family, it’s not easy for the people that are my friends prior to my transition.
“...I’m the same gender I’ve always been in my mind, but all this other stuff, on the outside, is really just conforming to how I already feel and have felt my entire life.
“People say, ‘Is this a choice?’ The choice is being healthy or sick. I can continue living a sick life, or I can live a healthy life. I find my trans experience has allowed me to relate to people, because all of us suffer, and I could relate to people’s suffering. I’m able to comfort people that feel isolated and lost and alone and broken. I can sit down with them and look them in the eyes, and say, ‘I can walk with you through this. I care about you, and I mean it.’”

Last weekend, she submitted a statement to the American Medical Association (AMA) asking that it take a stand in support of transgender troops.

On Monday, the AMA took her advice and the advice of many others, passing the resolution in question.

Read Buzzfeed's full interview with Henry HERE

Earlier this week, we reported that The New York Times released a powerful short documentary about a transgender military couple, Air Force Senior Airman Logan Ireland and Cpl. Laila Villanueva, an Army nurse.

Watch the New York Times video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Meet the First Out Transgender Active Duty Army Officer 'Compatible With Military Service' - VIDEO" »

Department of Defense Adds Sexual Orientation to Equal Opportunity Policy: VIDEO


On Tuesday Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense would add sexual orientation to its equal opportunity policy, putting discrimination based on sexual orientation on the same footing as discrimination based on religion, gender, or race. Notably missing from Carter's announcement however was a statement on transgender service-members. 

BuzzFeed reports:

United_States_Department_of_Defense_Seal.svgWhile detailing the “critical” need for the military to “start from a position of inclusivity, not exclusivity,” however, the defense secretary made no direct mention of the other big issue pending for attendees of the LGBT pride month event at the Pentagon: out transgender military service.

“We need to be a meritocracy,” Carter said at the event. “We need to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the thing that matters most about a person is what they can contribute to national defense. This is a commitment we must continually renew.”

To that end, he said, the Defense Department has “completed the process for updating its military equal opportunity policy to include sexual orientation, ensuring that the department, like the rest of the federal government, treats sexual orientation-based discrimination the same way it treats discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, age, and national origin.”

Carter added, “Discrimination, of any kind, has no place in [the] Armed Forces," saying that discrimination based on sexual orientation is "bad defense policy."

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cdr. Nate Christensen expanded on what the development will mean for out service-members:

“With this policy revision, we are now ensuring that servicemembers are afforded protection against discrimination in the Department’s military equal opportunity program, provided to all military members. Along with command channels and the IG, servicemembers will now be able to use the Military EO process, just like DoD civilians are able to use civilian EEO programs to resolve discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation."

Watch a news report on the policy announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Department of Defense Adds Sexual Orientation to Equal Opportunity Policy: VIDEO" »

Man Creates Teachable Moment After Mocking Caitlyn Jenner's 'Bravery' With Soldier Photo


The outpouring of support Caitlyn Jenner received following her Vanity Fair reveal earlier this week was sadly met with the consternation of many who thought the country was going overboard with all the praise and "hero" labels directed at the former Olympian. 

One of those Jenner critics, Salem, Oregon resident Terry Coffey, vented his frustration by posting the below on Facebook on Monday:


As I see post after post about Bruce Jenner's transition to a woman, and I hear words like, bravery, heroism, and...

Posted by Terry Coffey on Monday, June 1, 2015

HuffPost reports the ironic turn of events that followed:

Coffey's post quickly picked up steam and has been shared nearly 800,000 times. Hoping to offer the photographer credit on his popular post, he went in search of the shutterbug's name and made a discovery that shook his concept of courage.

The men in the photo are actually toy figurines staged by Mark Hogancamp, who was beaten nearly to death in 2000... for dressing as a woman.

Coffey detailed his realization in a second, humbling post on Tuesday.


The photo that accompanied my words yesterday to highlight "true bravery," was chosen from a quick image search. Just...

Posted by Terry Coffey on Tuesday, June 2, 2015
HuffPost adds the "upcoming" documentary mentioned was actually released a few years back. Check out a trailer for the film, MArwencol, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Man Creates Teachable Moment After Mocking Caitlyn Jenner's 'Bravery' With Soldier Photo" »

Air Force Moves Toward Trans-Inclusive Service Member Policy


The Air Force has taken steps to loosen its ban on openly transgender service members, the Washington Blade reports:

Daniel Sitterly, principal deputy assistant Air Force secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, said in a statement the policy change takes place even though the ban on openly transgender service in the U.S. military remains in effect.

“Though the Air Force policy regarding involuntary separation of gender dysphoric airmen has not changed, the elevation of decision authority to the director, Air Force Review Boards Agency, ensures the ability to consistently apply the existing policy,” Sitterly said.

According to the statement, if command recommends involuntary separation of an enlisted airman for gender dysphoria or for another reason and the enlisted airman has self-identified as transgender, separation action will be reviewed by the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council for recommendation, then to the Air Force Review Boards Agency director for a decision. 

BuzzFeed adds:

In addition to raising the level of commander who can sign off on the discharge of transgender service members, the Air Force announced that discharges based on gender dysphoria — the medical diagnosis that corresponds with seeking treatment for being transgender — would only proceed if a commander also determines that the person’s gender dysphoria “interferes with duty requirements.”

In recent weeks the Army has also taken steps to ease its ban on trans soldiers. A Navy spokesman told the Blade "no changes are in the works" for their branch. 

Pentagon to Extend Non-discrimination Protections to LGB Service Members

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 12.12.56 PM

The U.S. Defense Department will move to include sexual orientation as part of its non-discrimination policy by the end of next month, reports the Washington Blade. 

The amendment will protect LGB service members from discrimination and allows them to rise to the highest level of responsibility possible. The amendment doesn't include protections for gender identity, but an official for the Pentagon said the department is looking into further updates considering transgender people (openly transgender individuals are still prohibited from serving in the U.S. military).

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 12.19.06 PMThe update is part of an internal review conducted by the Pentagon that lasted 12 months and met its Human Goals Charter in 2014 that listed sexual orientation as an area in which the U.S. armed forces sought to "create a culture of inclusion."

The proposed change is headed to Defense Secretary Ash Carter (right) for final review and approval as early as the middle of next week.

Marriage Equality Ad Featuring Gay Republican Soldier Rejected by Tennessee Station: WATCH


Chatanooga-based WRCB is refusing to an air a 30-second ad produced by Freedom to Marry and featuring a gay Republican soldier, which makes the case for marriage equality in Tennessee, Buzzfeed News reports.

“It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate,” Tom Tolar, the president and general manager of Chatanooga-based WRCB, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview.

The ad crossed the station’s lines, he explained, because “people probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people.”

2_ehrenfeldThe ad features Jesse Ehrenfeld, a Nashville resident and Commander in the Navy, who just returned from a nine month deployment to Afghanistan, and his partner Judd Taback.

Says Ehrenfeld in the ad, which is airing in Memphis and Nashville:

I’m a Republican, I’m a doctor, and I’m a soldier. As a military physician, I take care of other people’s loved ones who are wounded in combat. But here at home, I’m fighting a different fight. Because I’m gay, I’m not allowed to marry my partner here in Tennessee where we live. I was able to stand up and put my life on the line for the freedoms that we all enjoy, and yet I don’t have the freedom to marry my partner Judd. Support the freedom to marry, because freedom means freedom for everyone.

Ehrenfeld told Buzzfeed:

“Perhaps they are afraid of running afoul of their audience, but for us, that’s why it’s important to share this ad with as many people as possible — so they can understand the impact of the marriage debate on people like Judd and myself, that we cannot share in all the rights marriage offers and are made to feel like we are second-class citizens. And that is not right in any shape or form.”

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marriage Equality Ad Featuring Gay Republican Soldier Rejected by Tennessee Station: WATCH" »


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