Some years ago I joined the USAF, long enough ago in fact the president was still Reagan. I watched presidents come and go, policies change on paper, but never saw any real change. I went to war, twice, spent tours located abroad in places no one was clamoring to get assigned to, and consistently year in and year out scored top evaluations and rapid promotions. Then one day it was suspected I was gay.
In actuality I am a transsexual person, although back in those days it was something you kept pushed down as deep as possible – even deeper than being gay. Whether I was gay or not should have never mattered, but there never was evidence I had engaged in a homosexual act because I never had. I loved my job, I loved the Air Force, and I loved my country. I put myself and my needs in a separate box to do what I thought was my duty, even if I wasn’t being supported by my employer – the government. I always believed that some day things would change.
The change never came in my time, I became another DADT casualty and begrudgingly went on with my life. Not to bore anyone too much, but I was in a critical career field, I had 3 honorable discharges already under my belt, and I could not make any sense as to why after 15 years it took just one rumor with no evidence to suddenly make me unfit to serve. Unfit to hold a security clearance. Unfit to even be afforded any semblance of a fair hearing. It seems as if I was being told I was an unfit human being. Just because someone said I was gay.
I give a damn because I never want to see anyone have to go through that. I don’t want to see people have to marginalize and subjugate their own identity to serve a government or any entity which has consistently demonstrated it does not give a damn about them. I don’t want to see one more person lose their dreams, their passion, their love, and yes their benefits as well in many cases, because they do not fit into a specific majority demographic. I give a damn because the people that trained me to fight taught me that there is no greater honor than fighting the just fight – and there is no fight more just than the fight for equality.
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