TAG | Chaz Bono
Yesterday and today at 12:01 a.m. showcased two significant points for the history of the LGBT community: (1) yesterday, Chaz Bono competed as a proud and open transgender man on the ABC hit show, “Dancing with the Stars” [video posted below] and (2) at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the repeal of the discriminatory law “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” became effective, allowing full and open service for gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the armed forces.
If following numerous LGBT news outlets and bloggers on Twitter is any indication, the outpouring of support from the LGBT community of Chaz Bono has been incredible. The number of #TeamChaz and #ProBono—I especially like that one—hashtags that have popped up, as well those passing along the information to vote for Chaz, has been overwhelming.
That the entire LGBT community is behind Chaz is especially significant with openly gay contestant Carson Kressley—most known for his role in the show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”—also in the competition. Understandably, and I agree entirely, the LGBT community recognizes that the success of Chaz in the competition—and the increased visibility for the transgender community and the discussions in the media that will follow—is more important than the success of an openly gay contestant.
Watch Chaz’s performance here:
Just a few hours after Chaz’s performance aired, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell became effective. In recognizing and celebrating the repeal, the Army’s repeal letter, filled will supporting and affirming language, was passed around the internet. The story of a Navy officer marrying his partner of 11 years just after midnight became well-known, and the video of a service member coming out live was shared on YouTube. The Advocate announced that it is “Time to Celebrate!” and listed events planned around the country.
With repeal of DADT, universities backed away from varying stances in opposition of military presence. Harvard and Yale both decided to reinstate their ROTC programs. Vermont Law School decided to allow military recruiters on campus.
Allowing the military to have full access to the campuses as a reward for repealing DADT sends the message that full and open service for the LGB community is alone satisfactory. Unfortunately, this leaves the transgender community behind and forced to remain in the closet (presenting as the gender matching their biological sex at birth rather than their true gender identity).
This bothers me. It splinters the community. While the LGB are happily celebrating, there is no less incentive or motivation (or even leverage) to seek the same equality and open service for the transgender community.
Several countries (Spain, New Zealand, and some others) already allow open service and support the transgender community. As far as I know, despite the typical fears announced by those opposed to the LGBT community, integration of the transgender communities in these militaries has been without incident.
All I ask, is that in this time of celebrating the repeal of DADT, we do not forget the discrimination that continues against the transgender community. We much continue to fight for their right to serve openly and proudly for this country.
A Facebook group was set up to recognize the continued discrimination, in light of repeal, calling today “a bittersweet day.” I encourage you to “attend” the event and honor their request to recognize the continued discrimination with a moment of silence as you celebrate the great news of DADT repeal.
Go Chaz! And let’s keep fighting for the equality of all under the broad LGBT (and all other letters) community.