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Pentagon expects decision on trans military ban in spring

Report won’t be made public until after final decision

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Ashton Carter, Department of Defense, gay news, Washington Blade
national news, Ashton Carter, Department of Defense, gay news, Washington Blade

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Pentagon would begin a six-month review of the trans ban in July. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Pentagon has affirmed it intends to make a determination on the transgender military ban this spring after the conclusion this month of an internal six-month review.

Matthew Allen, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will make a decision at that time in response to a Washington Blade inquiry this week for an update on the review.

“The transgender working group appointed by the secretary of defense will conclude its deliberations by the end of January and present its findings and recommendations directly to the secretary soon thereafter,” Allen said. “The secretary will take whatever time he needs to analyze, evaluate, and discuss the Working Group’s findings with his immediate staff and the senior leadership of the department. We do, however, anticipate a final decision from the secretary sometime in the spring.”

In July, Carter announced the Pentagon would undertake a review of transgender military service, which is currently banned as a result of medical regulation. At the time, Carter said the review would be conducted under the presumption the policy would be changed. In an attempt to limit transgender discharges, the secretary also directed that all separations of troops for gender identity would be handled by a senior civilian official.

According to the Pentagon, the working group’s recommendations will address accessions, retention, transition and medical care for transgender service members and potential applicants to the armed forces.

Although the Pentagon is set to complete its report by the end of the January, Allen indicated no part of the report will be officially made public until the final policy determination is made.

“Materials from the working group will be released only after the secretary makes a final decision and has determined what is appropriate for public release,” Allen said.

Media reports last year indicated the Pentagon was set to lift the trans ban on May 27, but Allen disavowed that was the target date, even with the expectation of a spring decision.

“Any end to the current prohibition on accessing transgender persons, or their open service in the military services, will be informed by the working group’s recommendations and final decisions made by the secretary of defense,” Allen said.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, said the only determination Carter could make based on available data is lifting the ban on transgender service.

“If the new DOD policy is based on the successful experiences of our allies who allow transgender personnel to serve, and on the scientific consensus of the the American Medical Association and retired Surgeons General that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service, then I believe that full repeal will take place and implementation will be successful,” he said.

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74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. Steve Karper

    January 15, 2016 at 2:22 am

    well a lot of progress re trans, while the anti made a non discrimiation bill in houston into a lie about men in womens bathrooms, the dallas city council voted recently to protect trans people from discrimination, 11 to 1

    If our soldiers cant deal with being witth or working with a trans person, how can we count on them when the other side is attacking?

    • Lee Anne

      January 15, 2016 at 5:45 am

      It is estimated that 15,000 trans people serve in the services. Our soldiers work with trans people now. They just do not know it.

      • Straight is OK too?

        June 8, 2016 at 9:20 am

        True. And the fact that it was not allowed up until this year tells you all you need to know about the trustworthiness of those troops.

    • Straight is OK too?

      February 9, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Wow, people who want co-ed bathrooms, I guess they don’t have kids? Can you imagine the issues? I guess not. I guess you want to put our children and women at risk for about 10% of the 1/30,000 who want to force the issue. Sad

      • Veronica Leigh Johnson

        April 24, 2016 at 1:32 am

        Yeah, because if I had kids, I would totally want them to serve in the military as soon as they were old enough to pick up a gun and use it (I think the age of 6 is about right, don’t you?) and I would be so afraid of them being molested in the “wrong” bathroom by their fellow soldiers.

        • Straight is OK too?

          June 8, 2016 at 9:19 am

          I am talking about giving pedophiles access to children. What are you talking about?

  2. Straight is OK too?

    January 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    50% suicide rate and defined as “unstable” by Psychologist. Sure, Obama. Give them guns and stress. What could go wrong? There are already 4 VA clinics for transexuals while troops wait 5 years for disability reviews. Sad, sad failure.

    • JamieSays

      January 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Correction. That’s 41%, and it includes suicide attempts. But the real conversation here is that the rate is so high because of people like YOU constantly attacking transgender people. And then the stress of those never-ending attacks causes mental problems.

      https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/hes-not-done-killing-her-why-so-many-trans-women-were-murdered-in-2015

      • Straight is OK too?

        January 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        what? So you think society is to blame that Bruce thinks he’s Caitlin. Living with the Kardashians had nothing to do with that? Look, people with gender identity issues have serious mental problems. Those who have surgery to mangle themselves are even further gone. Psychologist agree. Sad that Obama is trolling for votes by forcing the military to give these folks guns and life/death responsibility. FAIL

          • Straight is OK too?

            January 28, 2016 at 6:12 pm

            so before he got married and had kids and slept with lots of women? He is in his 60s. You’d think he’d have figured this out before now. Also, shocker, like most transgenders, he is second guessing his decision not. wow

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm

            and you think the answer, the way to address that incredibly high suicide rate (less than 1% is the norm) is to give them a gun and lots of responsibility. Wow.

          • Johnny Brown

            April 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm

            I’m curious if you know the current suicide rate for veterans, as they commit suicide at an astounding rate – much, much more than any other group of people. In fact, 22 veterans commit suicide every single day. Trans people commit suicide because they are oppressed, misunderstood, labelled as freaks, and ostracized for simply wanting to be comfortable in their own skin. Perhaps if we started changing that, the suicide rate among them would begin to decline. Veterans, however, still need a ton of help – and not just in the form of dozens of pills.

          • Straight is OK too?

            July 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm

            And right on cue, Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide today. I agree with you by the way on veterans. We need to do more as a country to help them. It is disgusting how the VA turns their back on us when we take off the uniform.

        • Chris Fleming

          January 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm

          How drunk are you? Trolling for Votes? For what, a 3rd term? I also love that you put “Psychologist Agree.” As in 1 Psychologist. Only 1 is on your side. The rest is on the side of the American Psychology Association and the World Health Organization.

          15,000 people already have the responsibility. They have to remain silent about it for fear of preoccupations. However the Army and Air Force have already relaxed their positions to allow service member’s to transition based on Unit Commander approval.

          • Straight is OK too?

            January 28, 2016 at 6:08 pm

            42% suicide rate. drops mic. walks away ……

        • Christine Guinn

          January 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

          No, living with the Kardashians had NOTHING to do with it! Caitlyn Jenner has said that she felt that way from at least the age of 8 years old! She had started transition and taking female hormones in the 1980’s before she met and married Kris Kardashian, but stopped once they got married.

          Transgender people are NOT mentally ill, and the majority of psychiatrists and psychologists agree on that fact!

          • Straight is OK too?

            January 28, 2016 at 6:10 pm

            WOW. Christine, I am a psychologist. You? Cartoonist? HS student? Let me assure you, gender identity confusion = broken. We love those people because they are to us like a Chrysler PT Cruiser is to a mechanic, job security.

          • Michelle Theia

            February 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            No Straight, gender dysphoria (I’d think you’d know that word as a psychologist) != broken, it means trapped. If you’d bother to read the ongoing literature on the subject (like my therapist does) you’d know that the symptoms associated with dysphoria (depression, suicide, isolation) are generally eased, if not outright erased, with transition.

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm

            Right, trapped. Feeling like you are born in the wrong gender. I get it. I’ve done papers on it. Like most psychologist, I don’t think the answer is body mutilation or issuing a gun and giving life/death responsibilities … along with hormone shots and pills for depression

          • Michelle Theia

            February 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

            Since I’ve already done over 14 years in the service, yeah.
            “Like most psychologists”? I suppose it’s just a radical few heading the APA and making decisions for the DSM then, that agree with what I and others have been saying?

            I don’t get “hormone shots”, nor do I take “pills for depression”. Even if I did, neither of those are absolute exclusions to being in the service for NON trans people. If you knew as much on the subject as you claim you wouldn’t be speaking in such base, mundane, ignorant terms; and you’d also speak differently about the specifics.

            Also, having served through TWO full presidencies, as well as being very well versed in politics and political science, I can tell you that of the last two presidents, it was not president Obama who “played with the military.” It was Mr. Bush who treated us like his bucket of toy soldiers and capriciously sent my friends an me off to war.

            I feel sad though, sad that none of this will likely matter to you. You’ve decided trans people are “icky” and “wrong”, and you’ll continue to grab and use anything that confirms that bias. C’est la vie.

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            Michelle, being a retired Lt Col with 25 years in, I am familiar with the politics of the service. The fact that you think Bush did more damage to our brothers and sisters than Obama kindof defines the elementary view you have of the service. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t voting based on race who voted for Obama. I know when I retired, the 14 that left with me all received letters of congrats from Bush and Obama. Bush’s letter went on the wall and the Sequestration president’s went in a drawer with the wife’s certificate. It’s always interesting when an admin troop tells me what psychologist think, even though I have the degrees and they don’t have a clue. Here’s a link for you to read. Read it slowly. I don’t think you are “icky”. Just think you are broken and need help, not a gun.

          • Michelle Theia

            May 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm

            A short colonel knows less about the troops, and the ‘politics’ at the PLT level than many privates AZ. Btw, i was an MP for ten years, though being an admin (which i did four years) is nothing to be ashamed of.

            you do think I’m “icky” and you are trying to rationalize it. I handled a weapon just fine, including in OIF 1. Suddenly i come out and NOW i shouldnt serve? Its bs bbased on 50 year old thinking and NOT based on any modern scientific understanding.

            btw, the fact that you and your buddies dont like the president doesnt prove a damn thing about each president’s effects on the military. The military is vastly bloated anyway, and neeeded a cut, even if it was only a small one.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm

            Michelle, while I appreciate your service, surely you recognize that the facts about transsexuals are disturbing. The fact that over 40% COMMIT suicide, most who have surgery regret it, and most have serious mental disorders like bi-polar or depression. These don’t bode well for military service where life and death are in your hands. You were an MP, you were responsible for security of people — people who depended on you for their lives. Wouldn’t you rather have someone not on lithium doing that? And I’m not even talking about substance abuse and disease levels.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 13, 2016 at 10:39 pm

            I never said you were “icky”. Transexuals have much higher rates of substace abuse and mental illness than the other 99.97% of society.

          • DGJC

            May 14, 2016 at 2:21 am

            Heterosexual males have a much higher rate of violent acts, child molestation, rape and abuse of women. What was your point again?

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 22, 2016 at 9:36 pm

            NO … you see … “rate” goes to %. If you said “number of” then maybe. Maybe.

          • Straight is OK too?

            June 8, 2016 at 8:34 am

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 18, 2016 at 8:56 am

            So again, speaking as someone who has gone to therapy, do you think your psychologist would prescribe for you a gun and lots of stress to cope with your broken, trapped feelings? Maybe responsibility for billions of dollars worth of equipment and hundreds of people’s lives? Nope.

          • Michelle Theia

            June 6, 2016 at 7:44 pm

            I don’t have “broken, trapped feelings.” I never did, but thank you for putting that stereotype on me. It really gave me the warm and fuzzies. And yes, my therapist thinks my returning to the service is a great idea, thank you for asking.

            Being a short colonel means you have experience and tenacity, not intelligence and wisdom. Since I’m going to go with the understanding that you weren’t a therapist in the service, you are, quintessentially, talking out of your oakleaf. When were you a joe? How much time did you spend on the roads and in the towns of Iraq? How deep did you patrol in Afghanistan? Yeah, bush did way more damage than Obama could have if he were trying (which he’s not). You and your buddies hating on him and retiring the moment he got into office is more an indictment on you all than on him. The majority of the force being brainwashed poor white rural conservative men, and thus hating him from the start and voting against him, also proves nothing. The common masses, of which you are sadly a part of given your education level, have been convinced by republicans that the GOP is actually the party that supports troops. They don’t, they just support defense spending. Not the same.

          • Straight is OK too?

            June 8, 2016 at 8:32 am

            Actually, being a Colonel means you have to have at least a Masters or two and 15-30 years of experience. I’ve been all over SWA … years of experience in the sandbox. And there is a reason less than 25% of the TOTAL military polled by “Military Times” plan on voting for Hilary. It isn’t because we are all old, white guys. The US military is more diverse than the US population. You should know that.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 13, 2016 at 10:41 pm

            Um …. no. They are not. The cure for gender confusion is not body mutilation it is talk therapy.

          • DGJC

            May 14, 2016 at 2:20 am

            There is no “cure” for gender confusion, because it’s not an illness. You cannot cure something which is not an illness in the first place. Secondly, most people who have gender dysphoria seek mental health help due to the ignorant people they encounter in life. They know they are in the wrong body, but the a-holes in their lives don’t get it. The same is true of gay people. Most gay people seek mental health help due to being rejected in some form or fashion. This is rapidly changing, so much so that gays are now more popular than Evangelical Christians!

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/gays-more-popular-than-evangelicals_n_5049991.html

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

            Sure, not an illness. That’s why they commit suicide at a rate of 42% compared to less than 1% of the rest of the population.

          • DGJC

            May 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm

            Your stats are way off and for one minute did you stop to think that people who are treated badly in society wouldn’t have this tendency? Duh…. There is nothing inherent in the homosexual orientation that would lead one to be suicidal and I’ve already educated you to the fact that gays seek mental health help in order to deal with the prejudice and ignorance we endure. In fact, gay teens are often rejected by their own parents. You heterosexuals have no fricking clue…

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 26, 2016 at 7:54 pm

            There are a lot of factors. Sell-loathing is brought on by personal demons and societal influences. The high addiction rates don’t help.

          • DGJC

            May 26, 2016 at 8:57 pm

            Somehow I’d rather be an addict than someone who abuses women or commits a mass shooting (heterosexual men).

          • Michelle Theia

            June 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm

            Says you, but not any major medical or psychological body in the western world. I’ll keep sticking with them, you keep sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting at the rain.

          • JamieSays

            February 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm

            I seriously doubt that you’re a psychologist. That requires a caring personality, tact etc. And you behave like a bipolar patient, not a professional. Get a checkup on those meds.

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 18, 2016 at 8:55 am

            Always funny how libertards with no facts attack the person’s avatar or their mom or their name or says something inane line “liar, liar, pants on fire.” I have three degrees on my wall that says you don’t have a clue, JamieSays. No degree, no facts, and no substance. Go away, the adults are talking.

        • Kaitlin Browell

          January 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm

          wow didn’t you know, transgender people are currently serving in the US military now as I type this… I did 4 years in the air force, I was transgender… you all act like this is some new thing and social experiment. Canada, UK, Australia all allow transgender people to serve openly.. for about 5 years now.

          • Straight is OK too?

            January 28, 2016 at 6:09 pm

            oh, they exist. But serving openly, no. There is a reason the moral has gone down 50% since 2009. Obama playing with the military has done that …. and sequestration, which he swore he’d never approve …

          • Lindsey Muller

            March 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm

            I serve openly. If you’d like to ask questions or gain a more thorough perspective regarding transgendered service members feel free to contact me.

    • Remrie Ra Arrie

      January 23, 2016 at 5:18 am

      It’s not the transgender people who are out who have guns you need to worry about. It’s the ones who are still too scared to come out as trans who are the most at risk. The further they progress through their transition, and the more peer support they get to be themselves rather than peer pressure to be something else, the healthier and happier they become in every way. Your lack of understanding of the issue and the individuals your words spit upon is abysmal at best. I am transgender, and I’ve owned guns and been around them all my life. I never wanted to join the military because I could easily get an underpaid security job down the street if I wanted one rather than protect Dick Cheney’s oil trucks so people like you can drive to and complain at McDonalds and Wal-Mart.

      • Straight is OK too?

        January 28, 2016 at 6:10 pm

        42% suicide rate. drops mic. walks off stage.

        • Michelle Theia

          February 8, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          You might want to pick that mic up, cause you weren’t done. It’s a 42% suicide attempt or completion rate PRE-transition. Post transition the numbers come down to around the average for the general population.

          • Straight is OK too?

            February 9, 2016 at 2:47 pm

            REALLY? So after transition the numbers are less than 1%? Really? You are going to stick to that? Wow. So the hormone injections and social issues and higher drug and alcohol addiction rates and physical issues, no impact? Hummmmm. I think you are mistaken, Michelle.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 13, 2016 at 10:40 pm

            So once transsexuals have surgery their life is great and they are miraculously healed from their abuse addictions and gender identity issues and depression and …………..

          • DGJC

            May 14, 2016 at 2:21 am

            The depression and identity issues often come from the way they’re treated, and have nothing to do with the internal battle you seem to imply.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm

            Hahaha – read a book. You are clueless. Studies show that the MAJORITY of transsexuals that have the surgery regret it. That is why many doctors refuse to do it anymore.

          • DGJC

            May 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm

            This is false. The majority of trans people who have the operation are happy. I know many personally.

          • Straight is OK too?

            May 26, 2016 at 7:52 pm

            NOPE. Studies show ……. Now maybe your friends are a unique, well educated, wealthy group. IN general, no.

          • Michelle Theia

            June 6, 2016 at 7:31 pm

            Well, since the treatment for “gender identity issues” ( the word you’re looking for is dysphoria) IS social and physical transition, yes, they tend to go away. The depression common amongst trans people is a secondary condition of their dysphoria, along with low self esteem and confidence from living in a world that hates us. The addiction issues are actually more strongly linked to poverty, which is insanely more likely to happen to a trans person due to so few places protecting us from workplace and residential discrimination. Once the underlying dysphoria is treated recovery rates for addicts tend to match the rest of the population, especially if they make it out of poverty.

            You’ve claimed to have so much professional knowledge, but it’s clear you e never read a synopsis of a modern paper on transgender health, let alone the full paper.

          • Straight is OK too?

            June 8, 2016 at 9:19 am

            I am just amazed this is your position, Michelle. Even GLAAD and other agencies that represent people with gender issues are in hard disagreement with you here.

  3. JamieSays

    January 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Lift the ban! Stop the discrimination! End the forced suffering! We can do the job! And do it well!

  4. matt

    February 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

    im transgender and want to join the military to serve my country. i don’t see the difference from anyone else joining.

    • Veronica Leigh Johnson

      April 24, 2016 at 1:34 am

      I’m transgender and I served. I was separated in ’05 under DADT because my chain of command didn’t know the difference between transgender and gay so they prosecuted me under “homosexual conduct” and held a separation board.

  5. bogey69

    April 25, 2016 at 7:17 am

    The most accurate estimate of the LGBT population in the U.S. is between 3.5-3.8 percent, with 0.3 percent being transgender(TG). There are no accurate estimates for the percentage of TG in the military for numerous reasons. One of which include the fact that the military never tracked TG and consequently were included in the gay/lesbian percentage. Another being the fluidity of TG. TG in the military is a relatively new issue. In addition, I’ve noticed that the studies being cited are primarily unqualified sources (pro/against). By the American Psychiatric Association’s own admission there have not been enough qualified studies in regards to TG (either outdated or biased). Until that time the consensus among the medical community is to treat TG with psychotherapy, hormone therapy, and or SRS to alleviate distress. Until that time we can all argue for or against to no avail. There are continuing studies to determine the best course of action. By virtue of gender dysphoria being listed in the DSM-V(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), NOTE the name, TG is a mental disorder if diagnosed. It was changed from Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria to avoid stigma. The actual definitions of both dysphoria and disorder are interchangeable. In my opinion the term was changed to appease the TG community. Therefore in my opinion until further studies are done and science advances we should not allow TG into the military. Because of the fluidity and the various forms of TG it would be impossible to manage. I served 10 years in the Army and got out as a Major. In one of those assignments for a Major Command I managed the enlisted strength/issues for the command. I wrote numerous briefs to the CG concerning assaults by service members on TG due to the TG portraying themselves as a biological female for illegal sexual activities. When the true identity came out it often resulted in harm to the TG. I truly think this would create not only a morale issue but undue harm to individuals. It seems anytime someone disagrees with a TG they are automatically labeled a bigot or uneducated. We all are entitled to our opinions and by attacking someone because of a difference only shows your ignorance and does your cause no good. No disrespect but i liken TG to someone diagnosed with anorexia or borderline personality disorder. They look at themselves completely different than what they actually are. And by the way my girlfriends son identifies as a girl. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s which is now autism spectrum. He is 24 and this just became an issue 8 months ago. He hasn’t ever held a job, flunked out of college and vo-tech and sits at home on the internet. However his new LPC is ready to write a letter for hormone therapy without taking into account his inability to function as a member of society. She doesn’t want him to obtain a job making over $1104/month because he would lose his SSI disability income. In other words don’t have him work to his potential and let him remain a leach on society in order for her to get paid. I’ve found that in the TG community it is often all to easy to find a counselor that will do whatever you ask with the least concern for your well being. We have become an entitled, spoiled, self serving, and politically correct society. History tells us there WILL be major consequences.

  6. Straight is OK too?

    May 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    hahahaha – WRONG, music man. We help people work through their demons. Gender identity confusion is treated through therapy.

    • DGJC

      May 22, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      I have no demons. You apparently do, since you have issues with homosexuality. I don’t share your issues. I’m perfectly adjusted and very happy I was born gay. I celebrate it, in fact.

      • Straight is OK too?

        May 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

        GLAAD to psychologists is like Chrysler to car mechanics, keep us busy

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 8:25 pm

          Dumbo, rape has nothing to do with sexual attractions. Why would a straight man rape a man? For the same reasons he would rape a woman- to inflict pain and humiliate a victim. It’s not an act of love making. God you’re retarded.

          • Straight is OK too?

            June 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm

            OK … your desperation is showing. Instead of discussing this logically you are shouting names at me and saying ridiculous things. “Men rape men because they want to humiliate them.” In all my years of military service and psychology I have seen this happen NEVER. Bye-bye, crazy man. Good luck with the lifestyle choice.

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm

          Homosexuals can donate blood, dumbo. That restriction was lifted a year ago. And if you are so desperate for money that donating blood is your only source of income, you’re pretty pathetic. I don’t know anyone who donated blood. Why bother?

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 8:59 pm

          What?

    • DGJC

      May 22, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      I can’t imagine you helping anyone. You have no business working with any patient. You are more likely to make them commit suicide. Your ignorance is embarrassing frankly, which leads me to think you’re nothing but a troll. I only respond to you in the case that someone else reads this and learns something. I’m using you.

      • Straight is OK too?

        May 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm

        OK, piano man

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 8:29 pm

          Yep, you’re an idiot, because you think rape is an act of love making. It’s not.

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 8:46 pm

          OK fake psychologist.

        • DGJC

          May 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm

          Dumbo, the restriction in gays donating blood is no longer in effect. Now tell me why would anyone want to donate blood…. I’ll wait….

  7. Straight is OK too?

    June 2, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    13,000 a year in the USA, so …again … you are WRONG

  8. Straight is OK too?

    June 8, 2016 at 9:17 am

    So your argument is that (despite every study ever done) trangender people have the same or lower rates of depression and suicide as the rest of society. Is that seriously your contention? Watch the Caitlin Jenner speech where “she” accepts the WOMAN OF THE YEAR award. In her introduction, the GLAAD rep goes through a list of issues with transgender people. I am amazed they have supported Jenner because he is a man with boobs right now, still hasn’t undergone the surgery. In fact, in recent conversations he has talked about what a mistake he has made and wanting to reverse things and go back to his wife.

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Texas

Texas House approves anti-trans youth sports bill

HB 25 now heads to state Senate

Published

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GenderCool Project leader and Trans activist Landon Richie (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

Texas House Republicans were able to push through the anti-trans youth sports measure Thursday evening after hours of emotional and at times rancorous debate, passing the bill in a 76-54 vote along party lines.

Under the provisions of Texas House Bill 25, all trans student athletes in grades K-12 will be prohibited from competing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Texas Tribune reported that the University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas, already requires that an athlete’s gender be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate. Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 has said the bill would simply “codify” existing UIL rules.

However, UIL recognizes any legally modified birth certificates. That policy could accommodate someone who may have had their birth certificate changed to match their gender identity, which can sometimes be an arduous process.

HB 25 would not allow recognition of these legally modified birth certificates unless changes were made because of a clerical error. It’s not clear though how it will be determined if a birth certificate has been legally modified or not. According to the UIL, the process for checking student birth certificates is left up to schools and districts, not the UIL the Tribune reported.

“To say that tonight’s passage of HB 25 is devastating is an understatement. For the past 10 grueling, exhausting, and deeply traumatic months, trans youth have been forced to debate their very existence—only to be met by the deaf ears and averted eyes of our state’s leaders,” Landon Richie, a GenderCool Project leader, University of Houston student and Transactivist told the Washington Blade after the vote.

“Make no mistake: This bill will not only have detrimental impacts on trans youth, who already suffer immense levels of harassment and bullying in schools, but also on cisgender youth who don’t conform to Texas’s idea of ‘male’ or ‘female.’ To trans kids everywhere: you belong, you are loved, you are valued, you are deserving of dignity, respect, care and the ability to live freely as your true and authentic selves, no matter where you are. We will never stop fighting for trans lives and a future where trans kids are unequivocally and unwaveringly celebrated for who they are,” Richie said.

“The cruelty of this bill is breathtaking, and the legislators who are pushing it forward are doing irreparable harm to our state. Texas is a place where people value freedom and respect for diversity. This bill is a betrayal of those cherished values, and future generations will look back on this moment in disbelief that elected officials supported such an absurd and hateful measure,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told the Blade. “The families of these kids deserve better, and the burden is now on the rest of us to do everything in our power to stop this dangerous bill now,” he added.

During the debate on the measure, state Rep. James Talarico, (D-Round Rock), a former middle school teacher, began his remarks by apologizing to the trans kids and families who have gone to the Capitol time and time again this year. He tells the chamber he speaks now as a legislator, and educator, and a Christian.

He quoted Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 who said “if one girl wins a game, it’s worth it.” He says he has a different moral yardstick. “If one trans kid dies for a trophy, this bill is grotesque.”

He ended speaking to his “fellow believers” in the chamber. “The worst part in these hearings have been in hearing the Bible used against trans kids to support these bills. Even tonight, ‘God’s law’ was used to present an amendment.” He then quoted the first two lines of the Bible, where God is referred to with two different Hebrew words, one masculine/one feminine. “God is non-binary.” He then prevented an interruption in the chamber and continued telling trans kids that he loves them.

Fellow Democratic state Rep. Jessica González, (D-Dallas County), vice-chair of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus asked the chamber how many trans Texas kids they are willing to hurt. She reminded her fellow representatives that cisgender women and girls will also be hurt by the bill. She shared a personal story about being outed in high school by a friend, having her locker, home, and car vandalized and losing all of her friends. “Kids are cruel.”

González told lawmakers that her brother encouraged her to try out for soccer, and she was bullied with comments like “shouldn’t she be trying out for the boys’ team.” She went from feeling a bit accepted to being an outsider again. She then reflected on carrying those feelings into adulthood and said that this bill will have long-term affects on trans kids. She asked legislators to listen to the stories of the trans kids who have bravely testified, saying kids will contemplate suicide or complete suicide.

Representative Diego Bernal, (D-San Antonio), told the chamber that some representatives can’t wrap their heads around knowing that there is no problem but there is *real* harm to trans kids, and for whatever reason, that’s not enough it seems to stop moving these bills.

He said that he has heard “if they already have mental health issues and suicide ideation, this can’t make it worse” and “if the debate is harming them, let’s just vote.” The he breaks down the Texas statute’s definition of bullying, telling lawmakers, “The bullying statute doesn’t have an intent requirement. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean to cause them harm. We are bullying these students. Know that by law … our own definitions and our own words, we are. And we don’t have to.”

“Texas lawmakers voted today to deliberately discriminate against transgender children. Excluding transgender students from participating in sports with their peers violates the Constitution and puts already vulnerable youth at serious risk of mental and emotional harm,” Adri Perez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas said in a statement to the Blade.

“There is no evidence that transgender kids pose any threat. It is indefensible that legislators would force transgender youth and their families to travel to Austin to defend their own humanity, then blatantly ignore hours of testimony about the real damage this bill causes. Trans kids and their families deserve our love and support—they’ve been fighting this legislation for months. Texans will hold lawmakers accountable for their cruelty,” she added.

The statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas in a tweet after the vote said; ” We will not stop fighting to protect transgender children.” Then added “We’ll continue to educate lawmakers—replacing misinformation with real stories—and demand the statewide and federal nondiscrimination protections we need to prevent further harms.”

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LGBTQ Youth web resource gone after Texas GOP candidate complained

Removal of the LGBTQ youth resource webpage appeared to be strictly political the Houston Chronicle reported

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Anti-LGBTQ Republican Don Huffines (Screenshot via Twitter)

AUSTIN – A late August video tweet from a wealthy Dallas-based real estate development company executive and conservative Republican gubernatorial challenger, blamed fellow Republican incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott for endorsing an LGBTQ+ agenda, because of the existence of a state online resource webpage for LGBTQ youth.

Within hours it was pulled down by the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, (DFPS) the agency responsible for the page.

In an article published Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that Don Huffines claimed tax dollars were being used to “advocate for transgender ideology.” Huffines also went on to say that DFPS was publishing “disturbing information about our youth.”

“They’re talking about helping empower and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, non-heterosexual behavior. I mean really? This is Texas. These are not Texas values. These are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” 

A message on the website states that the previous content is now under review.

According to the Chronicle, the website for the Texas Youth Connection, a division of Family and Protective Services that steers young people to various resources, including education, housing and those on its LGBTQ page as they prepare for life after foster care. It was replaced by a message that states, “The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current.”

LGBTQ+ activists and advocates are furious. Among the resources on the page for LGBTQ+ youth were critical information including for housing and information for suicide prevention and crisis assistance.

GenderCool Youth Leader, Trans rights activist and University of Houston student Landon Richie told the Blade Tuesday;

“This is deplorable. To Governor Abbott, LGBTQ+ youth are nothing more than pawns on a political chessboard. Despite his cries of protection and fairness in justification of this session’s unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ+ — especially trans — youth, it has never truly been about any of those things; it has always been about his power.

Now more than ever, LGBTQ+ youth deserve safety, protection, support, and affirmation from the state — this year alone, the Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support, as a result of this legislative session. LGBTQ+ youth deserve better than to be treated like they are as easily discardable as a webpage,” Richie said.

Shannon Minter, the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights reacted telling the Blade in an emailed statement:

“Helping LGBTQ youth and their families prevent suicide is not a partisan issue, and any elected official who seeks to make it one has lost any sense of shame. This action by Governor Abbott is appalling and will needlessly harm vulnerable children and families who urgently need support.”

Removal of the page appeared to be strictly political the Chronicle reported.

Patrick Crimmins, the department spokesman, told the Chronicle that the review “is still ongoing” but declined to answer questions seeking more detail about why the website was removed or whether it had anything to do with Huffines.

But Family and Protective Services communications obtained through a public records request show that agency employees discussed removing the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” page in response to Huffines’ tweet, shortly before taking it offline,” the paper wrote.

More telling was the events leading the page’s removal said the paper:

Thirteen minutes after Huffines’ video went up, media relations director Marissa Gonzales emailed a link to Crimmins, the agency’s communications director, under the subject line “Don Huffines video accusing Gov/DFPS of pushing liberal transgender agenda.”

FYI. This is starting to blow up on Twitter,” Gonzales wrote.

Crimmins then queried Darrell Azar, DFPS’ web and creative services director, about who oversees the page. “Darrell — please note we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content,” he wrote.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth weighed in on the Chronicle’s reporting in an emailed statement to the Blade.

LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the child welfare system — and those who have been in foster care report significantly higher rates of attempting suicide. It is unconscionable that the Texas state government would actively remove vital suicide prevention resources from its website for the sole purpose of appeasing a rival politician. Mental health and suicide prevention are nonpartisan,” said Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs. “This story sends a terrible message to LGBTQ youth in Texas and will only contribute to the internalization of stigma and shame. We should be expanding access to support services for this group, not erasing what resources LGBTQ youth have to reach out for help.” 

The Chronicle reported that the deleted webpage also included links to the Texas chapters of PFLAG, a nationwide LGBTQ organization; a “national youth talk line” to discuss gender and sexual identity and various other issues; and LGBTQ legal services.

Huffines said the page also linked to a website operated by the Human Rights Campaign, a politically active LGBTQ advocacy group that he called “the Planned Parenthood of LGBT issues.”

Data on Texas:

  • Between January 1 and August 30, 2021, The Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts (calls, texts, and chats) from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support. More than 3,900 of those crisis contacts (36%) came from transgender or nonbinary youth.
  • Crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas seeking support have grown over 150% when compared to the same time period in 2020.
  • While this volume of crisis contacts can not be attributed to any one factor (or bill), a qualitative analysis of the crisis contacts found that:
    • Transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas have directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm, and considering suicide due to anti-LGBTQ laws being debated in their state.
    • Some transgender and nonbinary youth have expressed fear over losing access to sports that provide important acceptance in their lives.

Additional Research: 

  • The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
  • The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered. 

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Colorado first state to require transgender care as essential health benefit

Biden officials sign off on change for state insurers

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Colorado has become the first state to require transition-related care for transgender people as essential health coverage.

Colorado has become the first state in the country to include transition-related care for transgender people as part of the requirements for essential health care in the state, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday.

As part of the change, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved the state’s request to provide gender-affirming care in the individual and small group health insurance markets as part of Colorado’s Essential Health Benefit benchmark.

Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra said in a statement the change is consistent with the Biden administration’s goal of eliminating barriers faced by transgender people in access in health care, including transition-related coverage.

“Health care should be in reach for everyone; by guaranteeing transgender individuals can access recommended care, we’re one step closer to making this a reality,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am proud to stand with Colorado to remove barriers that have historically made it difficult for transgender people to access health coverage and medical care.”

According to HHS, Colorado plan will require insurers to cover a wider range of services for transgender people in addition to benefits already covered, such as eye and lid modifications, face tightening, facial bone remodeling for facial feminization, breast/chest construction and reductions, and laser hair removal.

In addition to these changes, Colorado s also adding EHBs in the benchmark plan to include mental wellness exams and expanded coverage for 14 prescription drug classes, according to the HHS. These changes, per HHS, will take effect beginning on Jan. 1, 2023.

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement health care should be “accessible, affordable and delivered equitably to all, regardless of your sexual orientation” (notably leaving out gender identity from that quote).

“To truly break down barriers to care, we must expand access to the full scope of health care, including gender-affirming surgery and other treatments, for people who rely on coverage through Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP and the Marketplaces,” Brooks-LaSure said. “Colorado’s expansion of their essential health benefits to include gender-affirming surgery and other treatments is a model for other states to follow and we invite other states to follow suit.”

According to the Washington Post, Biden administration signed off on the change before officials made the announcement Tuesday in Denver in an event with Gov, Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States.

Katie Keith, a lawyer and co-founder of Out2Enroll, is quoted in the Washington Post as saying despite the change significant issues remains for transgender people in health care.

“There’s been significant progress, but we’ve seen exclusions by some health plans — it got worse under the Trump administration — and that’s why it’s important to see states like Colorado stepping up to fill those gaps,” Keith is quoted as saying.

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