Posted by: outandequal | June 10, 2011

Advances in Transgender Veteran Rights

Pat Baillie

Pat Baillie, Associate Director of Training & Professional Development

When I came to Out & Equal, I was one of the few employees who had a military background.  As a retired Air Force major who survived pre-DADT and decided to leave when that program was announced, I wasn’t sure how long it would take the military to catch up on LGBT rights.  Back in the days when I retired, the T wasn’t even part of the discussion.  I knew what the rules were for sexual orientation and the military were and although I had my rights I knew not to expect any benefits for my domestic partner or support for my family.  As transgender awareness grew, I expected to see the same “slow roll” for health and transition benefits for active duty military members.  Imagine my surprise when one of the first major steps forward for transgender veterans was the implementation of new guidelines at the VA!  For those of you who have a military background, you know the VA usually works very slowly, even in government time!  I know I had heard from several VA attendees to the Summit over the last year and I knew they were working on these guidelines but I am pleased to let you know, it’s a done deal.  Check out NCTE’s new guide to the directive.  This paves the way for all of us and is a huge step for those vets who are transgender.  If you know anyone who was in the military, let them know about these developments and ask them to thank their local VA for the work they are doing!  Just another place to be out about being LGBT and allies!

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