Opening the Military to Transgender People is Only a First Step Says Chelsea Manning

SUMMARY: Chelsea Manning writes about her experience as a Transgender soldier and suggests that merely allowing transgender people to serve openly in the US military will be meaningless without further anti-discrimination measures. The first and most obvious obstacle is the health system in the military, with serious limitations on mental health and medical treatment for transgender service-members. The continued psychopathologisation of the trans community in the military perpetuates the myth of ‘gender dysphoria,’ which currently renders a solider “administratively unfit” to serve. A study by the University of California Los Angeles’ Williams Institute estimates that 134, 300 trans veterans have served in the US Armed Forces and that 15,500 trans people are currently serving. Forcing silence and repression of gender identities “harmed all of us in some way,” says Manning, who goes on to say, “it harms the unity and cohesion on which the military and the mend and women who serve in it require.” Another serious obstacle is systematic hostility, from identification requirements and uniform restrictions that make it difficult to effectively transition.

SOURCE: Chelsea E. Manning, July 29 2015, ‘Transgender people’s inclusion in the military is a key firs step – but not the last,’ The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/29/transgender-peoples-inclusion-military-key-first-step-not-last

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