Transgender military members face termination for becoming who they are

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What happens when the employer refuses to acknowledge my claim?”


Chris Beck Charlotte Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer North Carolina Medical malpractice AttorneyMilitary regulations require the immediate dismissal of any service member who is found to be transgender. That is placing the some 15,500 transgender people serving in the military in a quandary, and forcing peers, supervisors and military doctors who are aware of members’ status to “look the other way,” according to sources and advocates interviewed by the Washington Post.

Political leaders from President Barack Obama to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have expressed support for examining the ban and, potentially, lifting it. The Pentagon, however, told the Post that no review was underway, and Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, worries that transgender service members are being lulled into a false sense of security.

Chris Beck 2 Charlotte Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer North Carolina Wrongful Death AttorneyShe said openly transgender service members risk losing their jobs. Some two dozen service members have been discharged in the past two years after their transgender status was uncovered, according to advocates.

Military leaders are focused now on more urgent priorities such as the conflict with the Islamic State raging in Iraq and Syria and looming budget cuts. Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock told the Post that the military will eventually “do the right thing” by allowing transgender service members to serve openly. The change is just not going to occur as soon as some would like.

Pollock said transgender service members should “Stay quiet, and stay the course,” while the politics of transgender military service irons itself out.

Staying quiet and staying the course is creating some awkward situations for some service members. Service members are prohibited from taking hormones that help to change their gender, but some take the hormones anyway, which causes their appearance to change. Despite the change in appearance, service members “still must wear clothing and use bathrooms according to their enlisted gender.”

One soldier named Hunter, a transgender man, said he is still required to use the female latrine and has seen women flee when he enters. While still in officer school, the “very male” looking soldier with close-cropped hair and masculine bone structure was required to wear a form-fitting jacket and skirt at formal dinners. That made some people uncomfortable, Hunter said, but he added: “You shouldn’t be afraid to see a man in a skirt.”

Capt. Sage Fox thought her military career was over when she revealed her transgender status. Then she received a call from her commanding officer telling her she was welcome to return as a female—her preferred gender.

Fox, who had served as a U.S. Army Reserve officer for 14 years, returned to her post in Sacramento only to have the orders reversed, without explanation, a short time later. She said she was told not to return.

When Fox asked her commanding officer why she had been shifted to the Individual Ready Reserve—a shift that ended her paychecks and health benefits—he told her to “Take the orders and go away.”

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional conduct, please do not hesitate to contact me to set up an appointment today. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.



About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.






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