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‘So. Tell Me. Are You Transgender?’ — After DADT: Transgender Life In The US Military



 Charlotte, a transwoman, is outed as a transgender soldier to her chain-of-command, but for the moment survives because a senior non-commissioned officer ignores the antiquated medical regulation that excludes transgender persons from serving

Virtually every lesbian and gay service member remembers the terror of being discovered. Many had the experience of thinking they may have been outed, and sweating through days, weeks, or months dreading that moment when the hammer might fall. During those months many experienced all the physiological side effects of prolonged and extreme stress. A few even had those fears realized when they got called into the office of their superiors and asked the question that meant the end of everything they had fought to achieve in their career.

“Close the door.”

“Have a seat.”

“So. Tell me. Are you gay?”

For those who have had that experience, you remember the blood rushing in your ears, the panic, time grinding to a halt and your field of vision narrowing as your blood pressure spikes with adrenaline.  Pure fight or flight, and yet, there you stood or sat, motionless and fighting every instinct written into your biology.

This is where Charlotte was several weeks ago, with one small change.

“Close the door.”

“Have a seat.”

“So. Tell me. Are you transgender?”

Charlotte, a transwoman

Charlotte was born male. Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) says she is male.  She is listed as male on all her documentation. However, she has self identified as female for much longer than she has been in the system.

Charlotte is an enlisted soldier who has established herself as one of the most solid and reliable people in her company. “I have never gotten any counseling, or adverse marks against me, much less legal. I’m well known for being a self-sufficient, reliable worker. When I get one of my rare a days off, I usually come back to find it seems like my unit is incapable of functioning without me. I’m not the stereotypical Army stud though; I don’t have a 300 PT or qualify as expert shot, but I always meet and exceed the Army standards in these areas. My evals are always well above average and I am on track to get my E5 sooner than most people.”

This maturity and reliability hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her chain of command had been urging her to put in a “Green-to-Gold” package, and she had been working on it up until that moment of hell came.

Being transgender hadn’t stopped Charlotte from making strong and meaningful connections with others in her unit. In fact, it was this bond that ultimately was her undoing.

Charlotte’s best friend in the unit got married after they were already close. However, meeting this woman allowed Charlotte’s friend to make some astute guesses. “His wife has trans friends, so he quickly put together that I might be trans. He actually approached me about it one day while we were in the field. I was honest, and he was fairly accepting on face value. I actually think he may be entirely accepting as a whole.”

Unfortunately, marital issues led Charlotte’s friend to start drinking heavily, and that’s when it all started to unravel. “He compensates by drinking with some pretty stupid dudes these days. He told one of them about me during a Saturday drinking binge. He may have told them because he felt the only way he could take some of the heat off of himself for some of his work performance issues was by outing me. The person he told then told my First Sergeant. I had no idea what was coming for me Monday morning.”

First thing that morning, the First Sergeant found Charlotte, and set events of that day in motion.

“Hey, you, come see me in my office.”

Charlotte felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. It always did when she got this kind of request. She was invited into his office almost every day since she handles most of the company’s paperwork. “Whenever I was called into the First Sergeant’s office, it always made me nervous, because there was always that 2 percent chance it could be about me being trans. It’s the first thought that goes through my head anytime I go in his office and I don’t have an inkling as to why I’m there.”

“Close the door.”

“Have a seat.”

“My heart about stops when he tells me to close the door and take a seat. I knew this was bad.”

“So. Tell me. Are you transgender?”

“Shitshitshitshit. I’m about to get chaptered. He’s going to pull out one of the green legal packets I see on a daily basis and I’m going to get counseled that they’re recommending chapter.”

“Yes, First Sergeant.”

“You planning on doing anything to your junk?”

“No, First Sergeant.”

“You going to keep your hair in regs and show up in the right uniform?”

“Yes, First Sergeant.”

“Good. I don’t give a damn about this trans business as long as you hold to dude standards at work and aren’t getting surgery on your junk. Now, when are you going to have that Green-to-Gold packet done?”

“Before the end of the month. How did you know, though?”

“Someone outed you to someone, and he came to me about it. That’s all you need to know. I’ve made it clear that I don’t want to hear anything about this kind of stuff if the soldier doesn’t want people knowing about it. Anyone that goes against this will be considered to be disobeying an order. I’ve got no problem with you. Now run to legal and pick up SGT So-and-So’s packet.”

“Yes First Sergeant,” she replied, and left.

And that was it.

Since then, “I haven’t gotten any hazing, harassment, or anything else. A major part of this is that I keep my hair fairly tight. I’ve yet to experience any negative backlash.”

“A big part of why is because there are only few that know. My First Sergeant also made it clear that same day to the platoon sergeants that outing soldiers that don’t want to be outed is not kosher with him. People that do it will be considered violating orders from a senior NCO. That pretty much put a stop to the rumor mill on not only me, but also a number of other soldiers often accused of queerness.”

I asked Charlotte how things have been with the First Sergeant since, and what she took away from the experience. “There have been other conversations in passing since then. I’ve explained a little more about transgender issues and transitioning in the civilian world.  However, the bigger picture is that even (military) people who know nothing of transgender issues are able to handle the idea of trans soldiers as long as those soldiers can do their jobs well.”

It took 20 years under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to recognize this as truth for LGB people in military. We can only hope that it doesn’t take nearly as long for them to realize the same is true for the service members who are transgender.

Editor’s note: The New Civil Rights Movement is publishing a week-long series of articles about transgender people who are serving or have served in the United States military despite the present ban. All week we will be sharing the stories of real people’s lives in a considerable effort to expose the unnecessary barriers that obstruct transgender open service in military, and show why the transgender medical exclusion is antiquated and must be removed. You can read all the articles as they are published here.


Brynn at work cropped adjusted (1)Brynn Tannehill is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. She graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. She served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas to 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain from 2005 to 2006. In 2008 Brynn earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008 Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry. She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for OutServe magazine, The Huffington Post, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist. Currently, she is on the board at SPART*A. Brynn and her partner currently live in Xenia, Ohio, with their three children.

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Democrats Rake in a Quarter-Billion Dollars in 24 Hours After Biden Exits Race



The floodgates have opened after President Joe Biden’s selfless and historic decision to end his re-election campaign and endorse Vice President Kamala Harris for President on Sunday. Democrats across the country are opening their wallets and sending a mountain of money to Democratic groups, especially the Harris for President campaign. In total, nearly $250 million to Democrats in the first 24 hours, including a historic $81 million directly to Harris for President, the campaign has announced.

ActBlue, which acts as the fundraising platform for Harris for President, and many other Democrats, on Sunday alone took in almost $67 million, according to a third-party ActBlue tracking program. President Biden’s announcement was made around 2:00 PM ET that day.

On Monday, as of 3:30 PM ET, ActBlue has taken in another $35 million – for a 25-hour total of over $100 million.

By comparison, on Saturday, the platform took in just under seven million dollars. Sunday is listed as ActBlue’s highest single day ever.

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

(The ActBlue tracker cautions: “ActBlue is a fundraising vehicle for Democratic candidates and campaigns, state-level committees and progressive nonprofit organizations who are also using this moment to ask for support,” and adds, “the picture will become clearer once ActBlue and the recipients file their own campaign finance reports.”)

In addition to the $100 million infusion Democrats just received, Politico reports, “Future Forward, the flagship super PAC blessed by President Joe Biden, received $150 million in new commitments from major Democratic donors in the 24 hours since the president announced he would step aside from the race.”

“Future Forward already had $122 million on hand as of the end of June, according to Federal Election Commission filings.”

That means approximately $250 million – about a quarter of a billion dollars – was just added to the coffers of Democratic campaigns, including Kamala Harris’s, and PACs.

The Harris for President Campaign announced Monday afternoon it had taken in $81 million in its first 24 hours.

READ MORE: RFK Jr. and Trump Explored Endorsement Deal in Exchange for Administration Post: Report

“Team Harris raised $81 million in its first 24 hours, adding to the existing near quarter-of-a-billion dollar war chest already amassed this election cycle,” the campaign said in a press release. “This haul reflects money raised across the campaign, Democratic National Committee, and joint fundraising committees. This surge of support is also accompanied by numerous endorsements from federal and state elected officials as well as major Democratic and advocacy groups united in the effort to defeat Donald Trump this November.”

Inside those numbers, the campaign notes, are more than “888,000 grassroots donors” who “made donations in the past 24 hours, 60% of whom made their first contribution of the 2024 cycle.”

“Team Harris’ 24-hour raise is the highest 24-hour raise of any candidate in history,” according to the campaign. “In the last 24 hours, Team Harris has added 43,000 new recurring donors, with over half of these recurring donors signing up for weekly donations.”

“A call on Sunday evening hosted by Win with Black Women raised approximately $1.6 million in grassroots contributions alone,” the campaign also noted.

The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, pointing to the campaign’s press release, observes, “If these numbers are accurate, more than 532,000 people just made their first Biden/Harris donation of this election cycle.”

On top of all that, The Daily Beast reported late Sunday night a small Super PAC tied to former Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Haley Voters for Biden, has now become Haley Voters for Harris.

READ MORE: Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement


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RFK Jr. and Trump Explored Endorsement Deal in Exchange for Administration Post: Report



Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., seen by some as a spoiler whose candidacy could help Donald Trump, held talks with the ex-president after the assassination attempt, reportedly discussing an endorsement in exchange for a position in a second Trump administration.

Late Saturday evening on July 13, hours after a 20-year old man shot at Trump, apparently causing a bloody ear while killing a Trump supporter and wounding two others at a Pennsylvania rally, Trump and Kennedy spoke by phone. During that call, The Washington Post reports, the two presidential candidates agreed to meet the following week in Milwaukee, on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Audio and video of that Saturday night call was “leaked” by Kennedy’s own son, prompting the anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist to publicly apologize to Trump, as NCRM reported last week.

In that video, Donald Trump could be heard telling Kennedy, “I would love you to do stuff and I think it’d be so good for your and so big for you. And we’re gonna win. We’re way ahead of the guy.” It was not clear in what context Trump meant “do stuff,” although he could have possibly meant endorse Trump, or hand Kennedy a post in his administration.

READ MORE: Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement

The two candidates’ discussions on Monday, “included possible jobs that Kennedy could be given in a second Trump administration, either at the Cabinet level or posts that do not require Senate confirmation. The discussion also included the prospect of Kennedy leaving the race and endorsing Trump, the people said,” The Post reported.

“The discussions surprised Trump and his aides. But there were concerns among some Trump advisers that Kennedy — a fervent critic of vaccines — would not be appropriate in such a job and that such an agreement could be problematic, the people said. Two of these people did not rule out the campaign eventually wanting Kennedy in the fold or potentially giving him a job in the administration if Trump wins.”

They also “did not result in an agreement amid concerns in Trump’s orbit about the complications of promising a job in exchange for a political endorsement, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.”

“Whoa,” remarked Democratic strategist Lis Smith, responding to The Post’s reporting. Kennedy “offered to endorse Trump in exchange for a job…the Trump people declined b/c RFK Jr was pushing too explicitly for a quid pro quo.”

Kennedy, who is an environmental law attorney, has focused on his anti-vaxx activism in recent years. The Post reports the discussion between Kennedy and Trump included him possibly “overseeing a portfolio of health and medical issues.”

“All I will say to you is I am willing to talk to anybody from either political party who wants to talk about children’s health and how to end the chronic disease epidemic,” Kennedy also told The Post in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for President Trump for reaching out to me. Nobody from the DNC, high or low, has ever reached out to me in 18 months. Instead they have allocated millions to try to disrupt my campaign.”

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example



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Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement



Vice President Kamala Harris, now the Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidate, said Sunday she will work to “earn and win” the nomination after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to pull out of his re-election race. In under twenty-four hours she has managed to secure the almost unanimous endorsement of House and Senate Democrats, Democratic governors, and a cash haul reportedly of over $75 million.

In the weeks after Biden’s damaging debate performance, critics demanded he prove he had the mental and physical capacity at 81 to continue the race and win the election. But even after numerous speeches and interviews, the goalposts changed, and critics pointed to his poll numbers. On Sunday afternoon in a letter he announced he would not continue his campaign. Shortly thereafter, he endorsed Vice President Harris.

Some Democrats had pushed for an open convention, with many rank and file members engaging in a kind of “fantasy football,” matchups promoting their favorite candidates for the top of the ticket and their running mates.

Fox News late Monday morning reported, “Democrats thrown into chaos as they face tight deadline to replace Biden,” but there has been little chaos.

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

All of the major potential candidates who might have opposed Harris have now declared they would not run against her, making her path to the nomination, while not certain, extremely likely. Delegates will still have to choose.

Most of those major top-of-the-ticket potential candidates who have now endorsed Harris are believed to be under consideration to be her vice presidential running mate (links to endorsements): Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Late Monday morning Gov. Whitmer declined to be considered for the vice presidential slot, according to Crain’s Detroit reporter David Eggert.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, considered one of the top potential contenders for the nomination but not a potential running mate, quickly announced he would not oppose Harris and endorsed her: “Tough. Fearless. Tenacious. With our democracy at stake and our future on the line, no one is better to prosecute the case against Donald Trump’s dark vision and guide our country in a healthier direction than America’s Vice President.”

Harris also earned the endorsement of Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, also considered one of the top candidates who might want the nomination.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

Colorado Governor Jared Polis appeared to endorse Harris in a self-deprecating social media post.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (I-WV), 76, endorsed Harris on Monday, after reports suggested he had called former acting DNC chair Donna Brazile to learn the process for entering the nomination race. ABC News reported Brazile told Manchin, “I had to remind him that to put his name in nomination he has to sign a form that he’s a Democrat.”

Writer and former Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer has been tracking the Harris endorsements since Sunday. Late Monday morning she writes they include: President Joe Biden, Former Secretary of State and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and former U.S. Secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, along with current Cabinet Secretaries Pete Buttigieg, Miguel Cardona, Jennifer Granholm, and Gina Raimondo.

And, “at least 33 of 47 Democratic senators,” “at least 159 of 212 House Democratic members,” “at least 18 of the 26 Democratic state and territorial governors,” “all 57 state and territory party chairs,” “all DNC delegates for Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,” “SEIU, American Federation of Teachers, and too many other organizations to list here.”

“I don’t think folks appreciate what we’re seeing from the Ds right now,” observes political scientist and strategist Rachel Bitcofer. “Newsom, Whitmer, Shapiro- every top tier Democrat- has put personal ambitions aside to come out and help the party coalesce around Kamala Harris.”

Political commentator Bob Cesca adds, “And they’re putting their ambitions aside for what could end up being 8 more years.”

CNN’s Haley Talbot, known for her spreadsheets, early Monday afternoon reports former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama have yet to endorse Harris. She adds the “holdout” list includes seven Democratic and one independent U.S. Senators, just 18 Democratic U.S. Representatives, and four Democratic governors.

But key among the Democratic holdouts are Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Political commentator and writer Keith Boykin at 10:05 AM Monday, citing data from ActBlue says, “Democrats have now raised $75 million since Vice President Kamala Harris announced her campaign for president yesterday.” Clymer commented, “Vice President Kamala Harris may very well raise $100M in a 24-hour period. Flat-out bonkers sum.”

ActBlue declared Sunday, “the biggest fundraising day of the 2024 cycle.”

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’


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