DADT, and Trans in the Military

As DADT repeal continues its labyrinthine path through the US Congress, it is once again worth noting how far ahead other countries are. The DADT proposals are for inclusion of gay men and lesbians only, and make no provision for trans people in the services. In marked contrast, both South Africa and Australia have not only welcomed trans members, but have also provided extensive medical, surgical and psychiatric support for the transition process to  service people who have begun their journey while already members of the armed forces.

The National Post reports that Canada also “helps” one or two troops through sex change a year, but does not detail the extent of this support. Now, the Canadian Forces have prepared guidelines on how transsexual and transgendered troops should be accommodated. On the one hand, troops have a right to privacy and respect for their decision. On the other, they have an obligation to conform to the dress code of  their target gender.

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The End Is Not In Sight – But the Journey Has Begun.

In a piece from Wasilla, Alaska at the Wat-su Valley Frontiersman, the evangelical pastor Howard Bess laments that in the struggle for gay inclusion in church, the end is not in sight:

“is the end in sight of all discrimination and rejection of people because of their sexual orientation?” I feel strongly about the subject. I ask the question because it has played a major role in my professional life as a minister. There are some hopeful signs, but I confess I do not see the end in sight.

Now,  reading quickly as we tend to do, you may have missed the significance of this statement. I repeat it, with some added emphasis and notes.

In a piece from Wasilla, Alaska (that’s right, Wasilla, home of you know who), at the Wat-su Valley Frontiersman, the Baptist pastor Howard Bess (not a trendy Episcopalian, and also not himself gay) laments that in the struggle for gay inclusion in church, the end is not in sight.

The end? He’s right, of course, but many people would be surprised that the journey has even begun, so convinced are they that homoerotic sexuality is inherently and “obviously” sinful. Of course the end is not in sight – but I prefer instead to note how rapidly we are making progress. The simple fact that somebody like Howard Bess could be writing on this theme from Alaska, and that others should be discussing the church and gay marriage in Utah, is a striking example of this in itself. The end is not in sight, but the journey has at least begun.

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Lesbian Family’s School Exclusion: Jeannine Gramick in Boulder

Two Catholic schools have been in the news for excluding the children of lesbian parents. In Massachusetts, the situation was defused when the Church made clear that exclusion was not diocesan policy, and promised to accommodate the child in another Catholic school. In Boulder, there was no satisfactory resolution, and there remain a great many disgruntled parents.

Sr Jeannine Grammick one of the co-founders of New Ways Ministry, has been to Boulder, speaking at an event organised by Boulder Pride and PFLAG, about the importance of conscience, and her continued work of ministry in defiance f the Vatican.

From “Daily Camera

Sister Jeannine Gramick was ordered by the Vatican to stop ministering to gay and lesbian Catholics, but the outspoken nun didn’t listen.

Despite threats of excommunication, she continued to support gays and lesbians who felt ostracized, and to advocate for change, Gramick said during a talk Sunday at the Boulder Public Library. Read the rest of this entry »