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"We the People" are taking a stand, especially for transgender veterans

WASHINGTON -- We the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people advocate for our right to serve openly in the military.

We know that promises have been made, but are yet to be fulfilled. We have been patient perhaps more than we should be.

Last month and today, activists have decided to take peaceful, direct actions to bring attention to the failure to balance the scales of justice as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) remains on the books. This is a page that is long overdue to be ripped out.

Activists are committing acts of civil disobedience to bring attention to DADT. Some in our community wait and in time this will be repealed. Well, there is no justice when such a discriminatory law is allowed to exist.

This law does not feel or know of time. Our LGBT patriotic service members and veterans know the pain of this law. They are not alone, because this law teaches all that it is OK to hate the gay. It tells them we are different and to fear us. That fear morphs into hostility and hate crimes.

We the people deserve better.

There is nothing good that comes from waiting. Today, a variety of veterans have heard the call and are in Washington, D.C., including our DOD FED GLOBE Transgender Chair and Pam’s House blogger Autumn Sandeen. She went not because she views DADT as a transgender issue, but because she knows all of us must unify and share the burdens to obtain full equality for our entire community.

While Autumn was in the military, she was harassed not because she was gay, but because she was perceived as gay. She survived that horrible endeavor and those that harassed her did get in trouble, but their punishment was minor, compared to their crimes.

Many of us forget or do not realize that prior to transition, many transgender people are often mistaken as gay. For that reason they are often harassed.

When San Diego County Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr. made insulting statements about DADT repeal, he targeted his aggressions toward transgender people. Yet the much-needed outrage was empty in the news media. As if it is OK to make such harmful hateful prejudice statements about transgender people.

All of us should be outraged and should follow through with letters to Congressman Hunter’s office, the Republican National Committee and the commercial news media. For far too long we have turned the other cheek. The pen is mightier than the sword and it is time to write in mass quantity.

We should do it, because it is the right thing to do. Remember Autumn’s contribution to repeal DADT is at great personal risk. She can be affected economically by arrest, as well as the danger that all transgender people face in any incarceration. If placed in a military jail, this is even higher risk than a local government prison.

She did what she did - not only because DADT is wrong. She did this to say to all of us on a national level, that transgender people deserve dignity, equality and will be there to fight for all of us. That transgender people are visible and proud. Isn’t it time that we as a community said in unison publicly and nationally, “Don’t tread on our transgender brothers and sisters!”?

L.S. Kove is executive director of DOD FED GLOBE, a nonprofit that advocates for and educates about LGBT employees of the Department of Defense. This commentary is based solely upon Ms. Kove’s opinion as the executive director of DOD FED GLOBE and it is not intended in any way, shape or form to represent the opine of her employer, the Department of Defense.