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Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO

Ruiz

At a televised news conference yesterday, Navy officer Mauricio Ruiz, 24, became the first member of the Chilean military to come out as gay.

Equally as groundbreaking was the fact that Ruiz' announcement came with the full backing of the Chilean armed forces.  

BBC reports:

Ruiz2"We can do anything, be marines or in any branch (of the military). We can do whatever profession, and we deserve as much respect as anyone else," he told reporters in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

"In life there's nothing better than to be yourself, to be authentic, to look at people in the eye and for those people to know who you are."

Rolando Jimenez, president of Chile's Movement for Integration and Homosexual Liberation, expressed his gratitude to the Chilean Navy.

"(The Navy is) telling the country and the members of the institution particularly that it is possible for gays and lesbians to be part of the armed forces and that they aren't going to suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation within these institutions," Mr Jimenez said.

Watch a Spanish-language report on Ruiz' announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Chile remains a highly conservative, Catholic country - where even divorce wasn't allowed until 2004. And despite a 2012 law aimed at combating anti-gay discrimination and hate crimes, LGBT individuals continue to face prejudice and unequal treatment under the law. 

A law governing same-sex unions is currently being debated, with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet coming out in favor of marriage equality despite a majority of Chileans opposing the idea. 

Continue reading "Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO" »


Chelsea Manning Says Military Is Still Denying Her Gender Reassignment Treatment

Manning

Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has released a statement from prison saying that the military has given her nothing but "lip service" regarding the gender-reassignment treatment that she asked for this time last year. 

NBC News reports:

In an exclusive statement to NBC News, the former Army private once known as Bradley Manning said life in the military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has restricted her ability to express her gender identity. "For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff. Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin."

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. Manning's lawyers, however, have said that the military has failed to carry out Hagel's recommendations. Her lawyers announced last week that they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide manning with treatment by September 4. 

Read Manning's statement HERE


Lambda Legal Sues For Unconstitutional Deprivation Of Veterans Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses

VA

Lambda Legal has filed suit against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the American Military Partner Association, an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting partners and spouses of LGBT troops and veterans.

Lambda argues that the denial of benefits to same-sex spouses of veterans living in states that refuse to recognize their marriages violates the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The petition argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of DOMA specifically flagged as unconstitutional the deprivation of veterans benefits to same-sex spouses.

The petition further states:

“Having weathered the federal government’s past, longstanding discrimination against them, lesbian and gay veterans and their families find themselves once again deprived of equal rights and earned benefits by the government they served and the nation for which they sacrificed.”

Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal, said:

“Gay and lesbian veterans have served their country and risked the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their duty to this nation. Married veterans and their spouses, wherever they live, need critical veterans benefits, earned through years of often perilous service, to take care of their families. No member of our community should be left behind just because their home state continues to discriminate against their marriage.”

Read the petition HERE.


ACLU to Sue Military If Chelsea Manning Isn't Given Appropriate Medical Treatment

Manning

ACLU lawyers for convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning have announced they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide Manning with appropriate medical treatment by September 4. 

Buzzfeed reports:

“Our constitution requires that the government provide medically necessary care to the individuals it holds in its custody,” Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a statement. “It is cruel and unusual punishment to withhold from Ms. Manning the care that the military’s own doctors have deemed medically necessary. The Army is withholding her care for political reasons, which is simply not permitted by our Constitution.”

In a letter dated Aug. 11, Manning’s lawyers note “[t]he Army’s continued indifference to Ms. Manning’s serious medical need for treatment, despite the recommendations of the Army’s own medical providers.”

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. 


LGBT Servicemembers To Receive Memorial In Congressional Cemetery

DADTNearly three years ago, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal was made official, paving the way for lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to perform their duties openly and honestly. The repeal by no means erased a traumatic history, however, and now gay veterans, and those currently serving, will receive a memorial to honor their sacrifices. Located in Washington, D.C.'s congressional cemetery, the memorial will cement DADT as a thing of the past.

Blue Nation Review reports:

The monument will be three pillars in a triangle shape with each branch’s insignia on it and a flag in the middle. The point of the memorial is to make people aware of the sacrifice and hardship that LGBT people face in the military. There are countless stories of veterans repressing their sexuality in order to serve their country. Thanks to President Obama’s leadership and the action of Congressional Democrats ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010, soldiers don’t have to do that anymore.

Of course, transgender service members cannot serve openly in the military, a tragic oversight which requires immediate attention. Still, this memorial will be an important symbol of equality for many Americans.

In related news, the Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place of Leonard Matlovich, a Vietnam war vet and gay rights pioneer who took up residence in San Francisco's Castro District in the late 70's, and appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in September 1975 under the headline "I am a Homosexual".

Matlovich's headstone is well-known. It reads: "When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."


Chelsea Manning Will Receive 'Rudimentary' Gender Transition Healthcare: VIDEO

Chelsea manning

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning will receive “rudimentary treatment” for her gender transition, reports Transgender Law Center (TLC).

Although it is unclear what specific treatment Manning will be allowed, TLC says:

“It is critical that all transgender people, including those who are incarcerated and detained, have access to life-saving health care. Transgender Law Center will continue to urge the Department of Defense that ‘rudimentary’ treatments include all health care treatments defined as medically-necessary by the preeminent health care organizations including the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association.”

According to The Washington Post, “the gender treatment provided by the military could include allowing Manning to wear some female garments and also potentially provide hormone treatments.”

In May, we reported that Hagel was considering moving Manning from her current incarceration in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to a civilian prison so that she could receive hormone therapy and other necessary transgender medical care. Hagel said in May that he is open to reviewing the military’s ban on transgender service members

Watch the Washington Post report, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Chelsea Manning Will Receive 'Rudimentary' Gender Transition Healthcare: VIDEO" »


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