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LGBTQ+ Veterans still fighting for full benefits years after "don't ask , don't tell" was repealed.

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CBS has been running news stories about this recently.  I got this topic title from Youtube.  We need to all write to our Congressmen while the Senate is still controlled by the Dems.  There should be equal justice under the law.  This almost happened to me in the early 90s.  It is giving me flashbacks.  I was an Airman like one of the people in one story.  I soon started having chest pains and couldn't fly anymore.  A Pilot friend committed suicide during that time, I'm not sure if that is why.  I just know that life in the Airforce became difficult for us after dadt started.  

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BTW. One story says 14,000 Veterans with less than Honorable Discharges from Don't Ask Don't Tell.  That blows my mind.  

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This sort of thing is one of the reasons I didn't come out until after I had retired from both the Army and DoD. I would have cost me my security clearance and my careers.

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I don't blame you Marcie Jensen.  I didn't hear anything official from my unit at the time about dadt.  But an Instructor I had never flown with asked me how I felt about gays in the military when we were alone in crew rest.  I told him that I didn't mind. They can do their own thing.  Then he said oh really is that so.  I didn't know if he was hitting on me or taking notes.  But I'm not attracted to men, I just wanted to be a female, so I didn't consider myself gay so I didn't tell. No one knew what a Transgender was back then.   By then I had two wives tell me to act like a man and a lot of service members looking at me sideways.  And I had no idea how to go through transition until after I was retired and kids and wives were gone and found the VA Gender Diversity Program.  Just about the same time Transgenders were no longer on the Mental Health Disorder List.  But now I'm wondering about my timing now every with red legislature passing laws against trans and republicans trying to "Eradicate Transgenderism"  : (  

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I got an other than honorable discharge from the military in 2000.  It was don't ask don't tell in the 90's.  We had LGBTQ+ people in our division and people liked working with them.  But they could not come out officially.  I decided to tell the military that I was smoking pot every day which was the truth.  I was doing that to fight my alcoholism and it was a relief to not be vomiting every day.  They drug tested all of us several times over the course of a few months.  I may have never had a positive test.  I really didn't smoke that much and I was getting up at 3am to meditate, drink coffee and piss a few times before going to work (not to try to pass the tests, it's just what I've always done).  They eventually kicked me out.


Several people asked me why I didn't just tell them that I was gay?  I would tell them because I'm not gay.  I'm not attracted to men.  But looking back on it, I think that everyone thought I was gay.  I was really transfeminine and didn't know it.


I wound up doing 7 years of service and am proud of the work I did.  Not so proud about how I left the military.  I wanted to make a political statement, and I did.  I was young back then.  I've learned a lot since then.

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Thanks for sharing Lydia_R . Really interesting.  I'm sorry for your discharge.  It seems like they thought that anyone with a soft voice or hips was gay back then.  And I think people would be surprised how much pot is smoked in the military.  Can you imagine now that you can go to a store in town and get it legally ?  I quit smoking for health reasons and realized I like being straight much more without grungies or hangovers. But didn't everyone assume that transgenders were gay and just didn't know it until just recently when gender identity started being discussed?  My guess is that most straight people think that we all crossdressers who get off by dressing in women's clothes.  It's hard to explain what a relief it is live as a girl 24/7.   All the hassles  from some people don't even matter most of the time.  It's kind of ironic,  I wish we had gender care when I was in High School like some enlightened schools now.  All we got were Draft Numbers and a war to look forward to.  But then I'm so glad we have come as far as we have now.  I just wish we didn't have to go through a shrink and prove we're not paranoid schizophrenics or sexual deviants in order to live the way we feel. Thank you for your service btw. 


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These CBS stories have kind of put a lot of things together for me.  And I've been thinking a lot about flying with the Pilot friend who committed suicide back then.  Its hard to imagine that Uncle Sam used to give me a big cargo plane to fly around the world.  But he was a nice guy, not one of the John Wayne mustache types.  He and another pilot saved our lives landing through a storm in Okinawa.  Its amazing how much a the wind can change directions and throw a heavy aircraft around like a model plane.  Please fasten your seat belts when ever you are in your seat on an airliner.  Pilots go through a lot to get you to Mexico: hours and hours of flight training, simulators, flight physicals, classes, testing, check rides, family joys and stresses. Being fired because of your gender identity would ruin your life. 

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Wow, @Vini, your comments have brought back some memories of my early days in the Army. You're right about the pot smoking in the military. My first duty station was in Germany right after we pulled out of Vietnam and there, the drugs of choice were hashish, pot and heroin. As a matter of fact, the best machinegunner in the battalion was nicknamed "Skeetnose" because of his heroin habit--he smoked the stuff and was one of my squadmates. He eventually OD'd in the barracks and was evac'd to Frankfurt. He survived, but we never saw him again. There was no drug and alcohol treatment program in those days; just UCMJ action and repercussions for everyone. Times have changed...


Later, due to my job, I was on what was called the PRP, or Personnel Reliability Program, which meant drug testing weekly. And, you're right about the CBS stories and putting things together. It's a different world, I suppose; but, some things never change. Especially in the military.

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Thanks so much @Marcie Jensen for reminiscing with me!  We probably just missed each other.  But I became the Battalion Mail Orderly to get out of going to Germany at the end of Viet Nam...  I was one of the last ones to get drafted because there were so many people volunteering to go back to Viet Nam for the Hash and Heroin.  But we loaded out on a C-141A when I was in a Medical Battalion (which did not bust people for pot) and I knew flying was the job for me.  So after I got my BA I enlisted in the Airforce Reserves and flew on C-141Bs by then.  I still get the same sideways looks from people, that I got back in the Military:  "Is she really a man or a woman?"  If I didn't have Angina and blockage I would still be flying.  But I can't prove it was caused by the Military.  Its weird but you feel brotherly, now sisterly comradery with any Veterans you meet.  Its like instant buddies.  Feel free to write any time you need to vent : ) You too @Lydia_R

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@Vini, Likewise. It's funny, you always remember the people; our brothers and sisters. The bond never goes away. And you're right about the instant bonding--it's always there for those of us who have, as us dumb grunts say, "embraced the suck." Same goes for you--feel free to write anytime, for any reason. We all need each other.





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  • 4 weeks later...

I was in the red amu break room at Eglin when the press conference for abolishing don't ask don't tell happened. (I think)

Though for the year before my team boss  had been saying "I bet you wear women's underwear" a bunch, while I usually was ,it was still awkward and no way was I going to admit it or that I was basically Bi.

I got an honorable discharge for medical reasons not long after though, so I never really got to be myself while I was serving. 

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Wow, @Claire Heshi  I flew on one mission to Eglin AFB in the reserves.  Small world ! We crew rested in a hotel on the beach.  It was nice and hot, better at night : )  The women crew members thought I was trying to get in their pants but I just wanted to hang out cause the guys stayed away from me too.  Is Eglin where they kept the ufo that Jackie Gleason showed off ?  I'm glad you got an honorable discharge.  I can't imagine being in the Military as a Trans even now.  I don't know how many jobs I've chickened out of since I started living trans 24/7.   Any one have any luck with that National Trans employment website ?  

Update:  I went to a Surgical Consult and found out that Vaginaplasty is a 5 year commitment with hair removal and recovery time.   That is if you can find electrolysis and are rich enough to afford it.   Seems like a Hollywood Jenner fantasy now.  I wish I knew this before I went through interrogation for support letters.  Looks like I'm going to live like a crossdresser guy.  

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    • Carolyn Marie
      Herzlich willkommen, Alessia. I don't speak German but Google Translate usually works well enough. I know how hard it is to talk about something that you have kept so well hidden for so many years.  But you are in a safe place here, and among friends.  So thank you for opening yourself up to us.  You will find that many here share some part of your life story.  Your father sounds much like mine - and he was also from Germany.    Please ask whatever questions you might have.  We will do our best to answer, even if we have to do some research to get you the right answers.   HUGS   Carolyn Marie    
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      Vielen lieben Dank   Thank you for the lovely lie about my english I really appreciate it.   I am eager to meet my fellow german speakers and I am already making lots of progress I guess. I will keep trying to sort things out this is why I have to write some letters and eventually make some dates with specialists in my city to observe my situation. I am glad I finally trust my inner voice.   About the close friend that will be a tough one but I hope I can tell him about my feelings and thoughts.  
    • awkward-yet-sweet
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    • missyjo
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