Shane Ortega served three combat tours: two as a woman, one as a man.
April 16, 2015 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Army soldier Shane Ortega comes out as transgender as the military evaluates their policies on transgender service members. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US lags behind other countries in allowing people to serve openly.

Ortega may be a combat veteran and a bodybuilder, but he's no meathead. On his YouTube channel he delves into gender theory, explaining how the patriarchy affects trans women's relationships with cis men.
posted by desjardins (4 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I think they should be welcomed in the U.S. military like anyone else. At the same time, according to the linked article, we lag behind 12 countries in this respect. As much as I wish we were in the vanguard on progressive issues, I am not really embarrassed yet, especially if we are considering it.
posted by snofoam at 8:07 PM on April 16, 2015

My father (recently retired) in the Canadian Forces had a coworker who went through gender reassignment in 2011. People were extremely supportive of the process, although this was with the defence academy and not the combat arms. Things aren't perfect yet though, my understanding is if you are undergoing gender reassignment and wish to enroll you cannot do so until the process is complete (pardon me if that's an oversimplification of the term).
posted by furtive at 9:36 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

My (wonderful) ex-boss is an example of how this can be done right - Cate McGregor. While the Australian Army can have a reputation for being a bit 'blokey' they are often very forward thinking on the areas of gender (and things like same sex relationships).
posted by Megami at 12:06 AM on April 17, 2015

You know I have to say that among all the poking and prodding they do to you when you first enlist, probably the most bizarre "exam" I underwent at the processing center involved having to partially undress, get up on a table with a sheet over me, and then a (presumed) doctor came in, flipped the sheet back for literally a second to check that I wasn't packing any extra equipment as it were, and marked on my papers that I was, indeed, female as I'd claimed.

There was just something, I dunno how to put it, not really debasing or dehumanizing about it, but it was just such a strange thing to undergo. There was no warning that was going to happen and when we were separated out by sex and told to drop our pants and put on a sheet I figured I was going to be treated to a surprise pelvic exam. Which unpleasant as that would have been at least would have seemed to have more of a point or something than just this dude rolling in with a clipboard and very briefly eyeballing my (lack of) junk.

Which I guess is just to say that if they opened the doors to transgender personnel one wonders if they would drop this particular stop on the MEPS train, or if they would somehow double down and find a way to verify both your physical sex and identified gender and make sure that all that info and any conflicts got recorded on all the appropriate forms and records.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 10:05 AM on April 17, 2015

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