Biden Gets Busy

From “The Blade”

 “The Biden transition team has named transgender veteran Shawn Skelly as a member of its agency review team as LGBTQ advocates are pushing the new administration to undo President Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously.

Skelly, who co-founded Out in National Security, an affinity group for LGBTQ national security professionals, and served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a naval flight officer, is named a member of the agency review team for the Defense Department in a news statement that went out Wednesday.”

Great news!

Veterans Day 2020

 As I semi-frequently mention here in Cyrsti’s Condo, I served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. I was fortunate in that I only was actually in Vietnam for a half hour twice. I served a year in Thailand supporting the troops who supported the fighter jets who escorted the B-52 bombers and did recognizance. At the time as I was trapped in my battles with gender dysphoria, serving time in the military was very close to the last place I wanted to be. I had no choice, I was drafted, passed my physical and then enlisted for three years to have a chance of working in my choice of jobs. In other words, I wasn’t in the military to “make me a man” once and for all. 

It turned out the time I served was to come back and help me so many times times in my life. I have written many times of how being in the Army led me to meeting my first wife and the greatest gift I have ever received, my daughter. Along the way I was able to travel parts of the world I would have never seen and receive the health care I receive today at very little cost. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the veterans past and current and especially those of you like Michelle. She is another transgender veteran who reads and contributes to the blog. Thank you all for your service! 

Freedom is never free as referenced by the election we just went through.

A Trip to the Vampires

Well, I finally made it out of the house for an extended period. Ironically, it was only to visit my Veteran’s Administration hospital in Dayton, Ohio to have my blood labs taken. For those of you who don’t know, I am a transgender veteran of the Army during the Vietnam War era.

The last several times I have made the journey to visit the “vampires” as I call them has been very much uneventful. This time though, they waiting room was nearly full and once I did take my turn, I had so many vials of blood (8) they needed that the tech who took my blood had to use both arms to get enough blood. He finally did and I was sent on the way past the “admiring public” in the waiting area. 

Liz (my partner) was off from her job and agreed to go with me. Also the day happened to be unreasonably warm and beautiful. I was able to wear an easy to access T-shirt for the vampires pus jeans and tennis shoes. The one thing I noticed was how old the other Vietnam veterans looked. They were all wearing their hats and stood out from the rest of the room,

From the looks I received, I must have stood out too! Of course I was wearing a mask, so all they could see of me was my eye make up and very long hair. Any way you cut it too, I am not a small person at 5’10” and have the thick torso I inherited from living a life of testosterone poisoning. 

Yesterday though, none of any of the blank stares I was receiving bothered me in the least. In my mind I was the most attractive woman in the room. As I walked past all of them I tried to straighten my shoulders, stick out my chest and at the least try to be happy I was out of the house.

Even if it was only for a trip to the vampires.  

Just Google It

The group which is presenting me with a honor for my LGBTQ transgender military service so many years ago requested a picture if I could find one. It was so many years ago (1972-75) and was a time which I wasn’t especially fond of having my picture taken anyhow, I doubted if I could find one. 

I was sure I didn’t have any pictures “just laying around” the house. Finally, I remembered a few of the former guys who served where I did on the American Forces Radio and Television Service – Thailand Network actually put together a website years ago. I began to wonder if I was in any of their pictures.

I went out on a limb and googled my deadname and AFTN and amazingly, there I was. Listed in a group picture of the entire crew of the military Udorn, Thailand radio/television station in September of 1972. I would have been approximately six months removed from basic training and the station itself was still fairly new. A year before, a battle damaged fighter jet had crashed into the old station killing all nine of the workers inside. So the surprise picture brought back many memories, many not so good.

At any rate, I have decided to share the photo on Cyrsti’s Condo. I am on the bottom row, first person on the left. I worked all nights then and lived off base, so somehow I escaped not having to wear a uniform for the group. Ironically the only other military person shown here not in uniform was my close friend Dave Mallett. 

With this group we operated and tried to maintain a 24/7 radio station and a 14 hour a day television station for the airbase and separate “secret” sites in Cambodia. Our job was to provide as well as we could a connection to home for the others we served.

I am humbled and honored to receive the award!

Another Meeting

 Last night was the monthly get together of the Rainbow Aging Alliance which was completed virtually of course. Nothing really unexpected happened except I was “volunteered” for a virtual Veterans outreach meeting in November. It was fine of course since I am a veteran myself. November is also the month for an “aging summit” hosted by the group which I am also very interested in. There is no word yet on how I could be involved. 

Speaking of being involved, I am going to add in a comment from Connie on the “What Would the Neighbor’s Say” Cyrsti’s Condo post:

” I remember, all too well, the days (usually nights, under the cover of darkness) I’d have to plan some Mission Impossible episode just to not be detected by neighbors. For a while, that game was as much a part of my gender identity as the clothes I wore. There was some thrill to it, anyway. At some point, though, it became tiresome and felt dirty and dishonest to me. Shortly after my wife and I had come to our “great understanding,” I stopped hiding altogether. I even did some major work on the front of our house, exposing my feminine-self to anyone who walked by. One day, as my wife was walking down the stairs from our house, the neighbor across the street shouted out, asking her if it had been her sister working on the house! She replied that it was (deadname) he had seen, and told him my new name. He has called me Connie ever since.


What a relief and a great improvement to my mental health it was to come clean in my coming out. Caring too much about what others may have been thinking of me was definitely not taking too much care of myself.”


I can only say Wow! My wife would have divorced me before something similar  to that would have happened. Looking back on it, it could have been the best thing for both of us. Which in all fairness to her, she said. 
Thanks for the comment. 

Pin Cushion

Yesterday was another medical travel day to see my “Primary Provider’ at the Veterans’s Administration. I was scheduled to see her in person a couple hours after I had an on line appointment with my therapist. Too bad the appointments weren’t reversed since I always have to answer questions on my moods because I am bi-polar.

During my second appointment I went ahead and caught up on all the shots I needed (shingles etc.) I was a big baby and they hurt! I.m always asked if I thought about harming anyone. Maybe a little bit in this case :). At least, after the mammogram is done Wednesday this week, all my painful medical appointments will be done for awhile. Between my blood labs last week and the phlebotomy, when they took a pint of blood to control my iron, I have very much felt like a pincushion. On the bright side though, most of my tests have come back very positive. 


On a different note, Connie commented again on our transgender – cross dresser “Role Model” post. She added Monty Python and the Kids in the Hall to the list.  Who could forget Dave Foley (below) as a hooker? Evidently I did! Thanks Connie.

A Trip to the Vampires

Yesterday I finally made time to take the journey north to the Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration center for my three month blood lab and Hematology visit. What happens is I have been getting blood labs also for my Endocrinologist. She (my endo doc)  whats to keep tabs of my hormone levels since I have increased my dosage. Now I have to wait. It normally takes a day or so for them to call about the results. 


I hope the levels are acceptable to her because I am thrilled with the results so far. My breasts are remaining full and my hips are starting to finally fill out. At the least, I hope she keeps me on the same dosage. And, speaking of breasts, I have a mammogram coming up early next week which is always uncomfortable but a right of passage for me anyhow as my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer long ago. Because of that and my age, the VA says I need a full breast exam yearly. 


As far as the vampires went, my Hematology results were not so good. Every three months, they check my iron level. My body has the tendency to produce too much iron and it can become toxic. To prevent it from happening, they “take” a pint. The formal term is a Phlebotomy. My iron was too high and the nurse who did the procedure fortunately was possibly the best I have ever had. It was nearly painless. 


So, all in all, it was a successful day, I wore my fashion frayed jeans and a matching form fitting tank top I just “rediscovered” buried in my wardrobe. When my vitals were taken, it was confirmed I have lost nearly five pounds since the last time I was there. Which was great of course. I guess my morning walks and less eating are starting to work.


It’s just a reminder of how complex this transgender lifestyle can become.   

Selected

Last night I was officially elected to the board of the Greater Dayton Ohio Elder Rainbow Alliance. Due to my over active activity with certain social media platforms I am almost sure I will be pushed in that direction to help out. The only problem is I may have to cut back on a few of my radical comments on the worthless liar in chief in the White House. Then again, maybe not.


Interestingly there are three other women on the board who are also veterans. As far as I know, I am the only token transgender member. My goal is to provide  quality “T” representation to the overwhelmingly LGB membership. During my screening interview, I was naive and thought the other four people knew anything at all about a transgender person. They didn’t. But at the least, they can now tell their friends they have met a trans woman.


Of course, my ultimate goal is to being able to speak to elderly care facilities about caring for transgender orientated patients. In other words, the closet looms large for us who are elderly in the near future. So far, there still is an elderly summit scheduled for the area in the fall. It is all dependent on the status of the virus by then.


Perhaps in my small way I can help.

Memorial Day 2020

As you Cyrsti Condo regulars know, Memorial Day is special to me for a number of reasons including the fact I am a transgender veteran of the Vietnam War era. In itself none of my service entitles me to be any more patriotic. But then I was forced into service and honorably served my time…the best I was able. Unfortunately,  many of you too know someone who served and paid the ultimate price. It should be for them we celebrate the holiday. 


I celebrate my service too because of what I gained. Most importantly I gained a relationship which actually thrives to this day and provided me with a daughter I cherish. I found the hard way that life is but a circle, the least of which is proven by me finally getting to live as my chosen gender. Other ways though include the Veteran’s Administration health care I take advantage of, all the way to my nine year relationship I currently enjoy with my partner Liz. 


Perhaps now, more than ever before our country faces more challenges. On Memorial Day it’s time to pause and examine how we got here and how to improve where we are going.

Not Good Enough

Perhaps you have read somewhere by now, the Navy has given a waiver to serve for a stellar transgender active duty person. As you probably remember, for no good reason (except pleasing his red neck base) the liar in chief banned all transgender troops from serving. Since I am a transgender veteran myself, this story really hits home.
Now. “The acting Secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Brittany Stephens told CNN. 
Here is more from the LGBTQ Nation: “This service member requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender, to include obtaining a gender marker change in (the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming.”

The unnamed officer came out after the ban went into effect in June 2019. They were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights(NCLR)  and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

“The ban has been in place for over a year and this is the first waiver to be granted,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “While we are relieved that our client, a highly qualified Naval officer, will be able to continue her service, there are other equally qualified transgender service members who have sought waivers and are still in limbo, despite being perfectly fit to serve. Dedicated military service members shouldn’t have to bring a lawsuit to be able to continue doing their job.”

“There is no basis for treating transgender service members differently by requiring them to seek a waiver that no one else has to obtain in order to continue to serve,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director.” “While we are relieved for our client, requiring transgender service members to jump through this discriminatory hoop makes no sense and only underscores the irrationality of the ban. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s fitness to serve, and transgender individuals should be held to the same standards as other service members.”

Hopefully, in November, the people will speak and the crook in chief be be voted out!