Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month I am going to cover a very important subject for transgender rights – military service. We are very fortunate to have three transgender soldiers coming to join us in the studio, including one who is the highest-ranking active-duty transgender military officer I know of in the world. My three guests will be talking about their lives as a transgender person in the military, and we will all discuss current efforts to expand and legalize active-duty military service for transgender persons. Finally, we will discuss criticisms of these progressive efforts of inclusion in our armed forces.
I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, December 26 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.
Some further encouraging news for those in the transgender community who wish to serve their country in the nation’s armed forces. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is open to reviewing the ban on transgender service. More explicitly, he says:
“The issue of transgender is a bit more complicated because it has a medical component to it. These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases don’t always provide that kind of opportunity … I do think it continually should be reviewed. I’m open to that, by the way. I’m open to those assessments because, again, I go back to the bottom line. Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it. This is an area that we’ve not defined enough.
If he’s going to do something, he had best do it in the next 2 years. There is at least an even chance that the transgender-friendly Obama Administration will be instead replaced with a transgender-hostile Republican Administration, so getting as much passed and as much set in precedent as possible before such a thing may happen is critical.
Hagel ‘Open’ to Transgender People Serving in Military – Washington Wire – WSJ.
I originally reported on January 31 of the case of Robina Asti, who was fighting to receive benefits from her deceased husband’s Social Security, but was denied because Social Security didn’t recognize her marriage. I also posted an update on February 25 where she had received her first benefits payment, although no official announcement had been made by the Social Security Administration.
Well it’s official now, and the Social Security Administration has issued updated guidelines regarding the eligibility of transgender individuals for survivor’s benefits. HOWEVER, residents of Kansas should take note of the following:
There are still seven states where the SSA will conduct additional legal review: Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. This is due to a belief by the SSA that state marriage laws regarding transgender individuals are unclear, making the existing case-by-case review process necessary.
I assume that this is due to the confusion over the Kansas Supreme Court decision In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002), which can best be summarized as “transsexuals can NEVER change their gender with respect to marriage. Original equipment is all that matters.”
As promised before (and I kept my promise), I’ll keep on this to see if there are new developments regarding Kansas and the other states listed above.
Social Security Administration Updates Transgender Policy | Advocate.com.
This article taught me a few things I did not know, such as the fact that in Canada, Thailand, and Israel transgender soldiers are allowed to serve. I find this unusual for Israel, and need to investigate. I was also surprised to see that missing a testicle still disqualifies one for military service. There are also many good links in the article to related transgender topics and papers.
The Pentagon’s Transgender Problem | Mother Jones.