Kristin Beck, the first open Trans Navy SEAL in the history of the United States armed forces personally gave a letter to the staff of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on June 28th. The letter is a plea to the Secretary to begin tackling the Transgender Military ban with more urgency – citing 15,000 Trans Soliders, Sailors, Airmen and Marines suffering under the “new Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” The letter is as follows:
June 28, 2014
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Mr. Secretary,
I was a Navy SEAL for twenty years and my loyalty resides with our county and our brothers and sisters in arms who defend our Constitution. I understand you have many pressing issues and issues of equality and justice within the ranks may rate fairly low, but media and many special interest groups are pushing for transgender service members inclusion in the U.S. Armed Forces.
A documentary has been released that will bring even more import and substance to this current issue. in our military. The trailer of the film can be viewed at www.ladyvalorfilm.com and after watching this minute long video you will understand why I am broaching this subject directly with you.
There are over 15,000 transgender service men and women in uniform right now, estimated in The Williams Institute study by Gary J.Gates and Jody L. Herman in May 2014. In your address, which I was present, at the signing of the “DoD HUMAN GOALS CHARTER”you spoke of equality and staving to make military service a model of equal opportunity for all.
A first step of making “Gender Identity Dysphoria”(GID) a condition that would NOT be grounds for expulsion would be a giant leap forward for so many and cost the department nothing.
The 15,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are under constant fear and duress; hiding and covering their identity to maintain their jobs; most of these service members don’t want to hide any longer. These 15,000 men and women are serving with HONOR and want to continue serving our country.
Second, a panel of volunteers to work with a small DOD staff to come up with recommendations and regulations to update stances on transgender service in the DoD. Many Transgender leaders including myself who have served in the military would volunteer in a split-second to help the DoD in this matter.
Primary to this panel would be to update the Departments regulations to the recent release of the American Psychiatric Association Manual of Mental Disorders version Five (DSM-V). The DSM-V removes Gender Identity as a disorder and so should the DOD. Thirteen other countries and all of the US Government agencies allow Transgender service. This is not a leap into the unknown and we will move forward as you stated “our strength is the ability to self-correct and adjust our course.”
These two things would cost nothing to the Department, but it would add so much to the lives of up to 15,000 service members. You will be restoring hope in our nation that we are ALL really created equal and can thus defend our constitution as equals.
US Navy SEAL(ret)