I am a currently-serving active duty US Navy sailor who is transgender. I have been in the Navy since July 2012, have been out about my identity as trans since 2017, and officially changed my records regarding my gender marker and legal name across the board as of April 2019.

I Served through the Obama-era ban lift, Trump-era revised ban, and Biden-era work-in-progress. I was allowed to pursue my transition through all of it. I did an AMA 3 years ago on an old account, which I am shifting away from you can here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/891lok/iama_active_duty_transgender_us_navy_sailor_ama/

Lots of stuff has changed since then though, both personally, and in the policy, so I figured I'd update in case there were new/different questions.

Proof was submitted confidentiality, so that I can be fully transparent with my answers here to y'all without having to worry about censoring for policy reasons.

EDIT: Made it to the bottom, refreshed and going back down now. I will get to your question, Eventually!

EDIT2: Wow, having a hard time keeping up with the many comment trees with good discussion. If I missed your question in a deep nested comment, please re-post it as a top level comment. Focusing on new top-level comments at this point

EDIT3: off to bed for the night, work in 5 hours. Will respond to more as they come, as I am able.

Comments: 1456 • Responses: 134  • Date: 

VoidZero521259 karma

I remember in early 2017 (marines) when we all had to attend a class talking about trans service member’s options and how the procedure could be paid for by the military. The instructor was very supportive of it and stating it matter-of-factly, and some classmates of mine were horrible about it, saying “what’s stopping me from transitioning to get a better score on the PFT?” or “why would they come mooch off of the military to pay for it?”

My instructor said something I loved there, he said “everybody joins for different reasons. Some people join for college, or for family, or because they really want to shoot guns, or to get some other medical thing paid for. All that matters is that you serve, and you get what you came for.”

Did you have this class in the navy? How was/is the rhetoric in your circles about trans service members? I get the feeling navy service members are on average a little bit less conservative than my marine buddies were.

nilestyle553 karma

Well fuck me, I genuinely have taken a different perspective after hearing this. Thank you

GwenBD94501 karma

*THIS* Is why we are vocal about our identity. Not to try to shove acceptance down peoples' throats. But to educate. We want to give people a window into our lives, to gain a new perspective. Every person who can come at the issue from a different angle of understanding, is a person who is Open to Learn. That's the goal my friend.

JD9021084 karma

How optimistic are you about the Navy’s future acceptance of transgender recruits? Also I remember when it was “queer” for guys to have an ear pierced so I just wanna congratulate you on your strength and power. You’re a Super service-member. Defending a land that doesn’t even want you to have civil rights. Rock on!

GwenBD94126 karma

I'm not super optimistic. Even under the Obama policy it was very rushed and had a lot of issues that needed fixing. Until we de-genderize the institution as a whole like some other countries have done, there will always be issues. And Americans are to prudish to not be scandalized at the idea of co-ed 200-person berthing on a ship that hasn't seen land in months. So I'm optimistic that the effort will be made, but not that the result will be pretty in practice.

Solo-Hobo20 karma

I find your statement of de-genderize. Or gender neutral the way I would put it. I think this would be the true way to breaks cultural and policy barriers. It’s honestly the most fair way. If sex becomes null and void in relation to your job and service and have a neutral standard the. Everything works but the Navy and the US aren’t probably ready for that.

GwenBD9434 karma

Exactly. Eliminate the gender barrier across the board. coed berthing, living, training, etc. Other nations do it in their navies.

aeschenkarnos26 karma

Do you think the culture of sexual assault is different in those other nations?

There's a scene in Starship Troopers where the various recruits all shower together without it being remotely a big deal (scary or titillating) for anyone; do you think this would ever be culturally feasible for Americans, the way it is for (say) Swedes?

GwenBD9443 karma

Do I think it is feasible? No. DO I wish it was? Yes. Americans are a bunch of sexually repressed prudes without good social training in general. X.X

DevilsTrigonometry6 karma

No. What would be culturally-feasible, though, is an environment where nobody is casually naked in shared spaces. This is already the case in female berthings - I never saw a single one of my shipmates naked after the day-1 boot camp group-shower-as-rite-of-passage.

Re: the sexual assault issue, sex segregation does not prevent sexual assault. I was raped multiple times while I was in the Navy. At no point were the sex-segregated living arrangements even a minor obstacle. They may actually have made me more vulnerable in some ways (isolating me from my classmates and colleagues, making it so I had to go out to bars/hotels if I wanted to socialize in mixed-sex groups, and at least in one case deterring me from resisting because I was afraid to get caught somewhere I wasn't supposed to be.)

GwenBD942 karma


oh my fuck I am so jealous

also all the e-hugs for the shit you went through

golyadkin372 karma

I was in Balad in 2010 or 2011 when I got a version of the following sppech.

The White house has rescinded Don't ask don't tell. The military is shitting itself figuring out what this means. But for us, if someone comes out, you are to afford them respect and dignity. I have no idea what else you are supposed to do. You might want to wait till we find out because an EO can be reversed. I'm not allowed to say that, but I care about you all. I don't care who you fuck on the side so long as you mostly fuck AQI. By fuck, I mean engage in lawful combat. We're done here.

GwenBD94180 karma

so much this! "we don't know what do do, but hey, treat everyone with common human decency and carry on awaiting further orders!" That's the military motto.

LolaBijou32 karma

And use your chain of command 🤣

GwenBD9471 karma

amen! And don't beat your wife, your kids, your dogs, don't drink and drive, and show up ready to work monday morning!

GwenBD94133 karma

I did have that training! I actually waited until our unit had the training so I could get more info on the mindset of those around me, and an idea of the change in policies, before I set myself down a path I couldn't change course from.

As to the rhetoric in my circles, there are a few. I am in an organization started for the support and help of trans servicemembers by trans servicemembers, and in those circles there's a lot of "the process to change is so slow" " there is too much ambiguity that can be abused" "this policy doesn't go far enough to protect us" etc. A lot of good dialogue. From E1 through O6. In my service circles at my commands, the rhetoric is very similar "everyone has different reasons for their service, and they are here to serve. Do the job you signed up for", and move on with the mission.

I would hazard to guess your hypothesis about the navy being a tad less conservative than the marines to be true, yes.

SpookyCenATic77 karma

The irony in saying that they are leeching, when nobody gives a shit if you go to the military, bc higher education is so ridiculously expensive.

GwenBD94138 karma

Yeah, I joined the military for the college money. And boy did I make out like a bandit there. Nobody complains about that, and their is bipartisan support for expanding and making it easier to access those benefits.

Let me tell you, more of your tax dollars paid for my school than have ever paid for my medical care towards transition. Sorry to spill the beans!

SpookyCenATic3 karma

Let me tell you, more of your tax dollars paid for my school than have ever paid for my medical care towards transition. Sorry to spill the beans!

It's kinda sad that both are so incredibly expensive. I know why, but I could never get behind it. I'm glad that you got both tho (hopefully didn't misunderstood anything).

Should've seen my cousins face when we (my mom and I) told him that you don't have to pay (appart from books and supplies) for university.

GwenBD943 karma

That is absolutely amazing of you and your mom to do for your cousin and I'm so happy for them and that people like you exist to help with that

SpaceGhost_L76 karma

I am in the Navy and I remember this training, none of the people giving the training had any real answers for what people were asking. The topic that kept getting brought up was about berthing arrangements on deployments and every time someone would ask a variation of that topic all the people giving training would awkwardly look at each other to take the question.

GwenBD94150 karma

This was pretty much my experience as well. Everyone was asking "Can I ID as female to go live with the girls?" and whatnot. Jokes on them, to get to the point where you live with the girls takes a *loooooong* time, with a lot of steps, and a lot of irreversible legal and medical decisions.

hadtoomuchtodream29 karma

What legal decisions are irreversible?

GwenBD9477 karma

Changing your gender marker in DEERS I believe would be a mite hard to reverse. Theoretically maybe possible, but I can't say I know of or have heard of anyone trying to change it twice, and I assume the pushback would be immense. For every branch but the Navy changing that marker symbolizes an acceptance of being "done" with transition, and not wanting any further treatments as well, so getting to that point for trans servicemembers is a long long process.

neildegrasstokem12 karma

Would you say the process is unnecessarily arduous or did it seen to you like they had it pretty well validated

GwenBD9457 karma

unnecessarily arduous

This. The one surgery I have gotten while in the Navy it kept flip flopping on whether I would get it. The surgeon wanted to give it to me. Mental Health certified I met their guidelines for ethical care to get it. I wanted it.

Case management wasn't sure if I met the administrative burdens required to get it, namely if my time presenting female counted by their administrative definitions or not, for the first 13 months of my presenting female. The last weak prior to surgery, I was getting phone calls left and right from the doctor's office, case management, mental health, etc. I was literally in the pre-operation room signing acknowledgments with anesthetics and still didn't know if I was getting the surgery. literally the surgeon walked in right as i got the general anesthesia and said "we're doing it, lets go" and that's when I got confirmation it was happening.

VegatarianT-Rex31 karma

Holy cow that must have been stressful! I can't imagine that anyone would go through that stress who didn't truly need it. I'm really happy that you could get the treatment you needed and I genuinely hope you find success in your transition (whatever that means to you) and in your career.

GwenBD9424 karma

exactly. Every new medical staff member who came to talk to me I asked "Do we KNOW this is happening yet?!?" and they all had to ask the surgeon, and the surgeon hadn't been by yet.

super stressful.

hi_im_haley4 karma

I mean... this just sounds like military healthcare 😂

GwenBD942 karma

So true

yeoldesalt30 karma

I don’t know if the people who gave us the training were wrong or not, but I remember when we had the training we were told that until the transition was complete or to a certain point that the individuals transitioning would be in a non deployable status. And they told us the process would take 2-3 years. People at my squadron weren’t worried about anyone being trans or not. They just didn’t want to be undermanned and overworked more than we already were.

GwenBD9454 karma

they weren't wrong but they were working off of bad information. The first year on hormones you're required to hive quarterly follow ups to check our hormone levels. there is some lea-way in the quarterly by a month on either side. But these appointments can be virtually, after testing of blood levels, which can be done by any medical unit. So can literally be done overseas while on deployment.

additionally, there are some periods after different surgeries where you might be non-deployable for up to a few months.

But there is no continual one year long period of non-deployability during the process.

Elemak-AK42 karma

Can confirm, my bosslady is Trans, we deployed to Afghanistan like 6-7 months after she came out. Only problems she encountered were inter-personal ones with closed-minded people.

GwenBD9419 karma

so much this.

deadlyhausfrau170 karma

Retired Army Vet here. I have a trans brother who's thinking about serving. What's something you would tell young trans folk about mepps, basic, and beyond?

GwenBD94323 karma

Be prepared for a very very very awkward experience! I came out after I had gone through it all but I have talked to servicememebrs who came in for the brief period it was allowed.

There are *NO* special treatments for them for being trans. They're gonna share a bedroom with 40 other recruits (either male or female, based off their legally recorded gender), and shower in open-bay showers with 20 other recruits.

Be ready for whatever comes with that

deadlyhausfrau83 karma

Based on that, would you recommend that he change his gender legally after basic if he hasn't/ decides against surgical transition? (He's currently doing T.)

Would the drills use the correct pronouns even though you're in the other bay?

Thanks so much for this information, by the way!

abn1304137 karma

Not transgender and not OP, but current Army. In Army Basic recruits are very rarely referred to by a gendered pronoun. Other than battle buddy rules (must be same gender) and sleeping arrangements (gender-segregated, obviously) you aren’t a guy or a girl, you aren’t black or white or anything else, you’re a private and referred to as such, even in the third person.

deadlyhausfrau28 karma

I've had a head injury since basic so I don't exactly remember too much. But that is something of a reassurance.

I wonder how they feel about trans battles?

abn130422 karma

No idea, sorry. I would imagine that as long as Private A and Private B have the same gender on their official paperwork, it’s good to go, but that’s a great question for someone in TRADOC.

GwenBD9412 karma

pretty much this it all goes by what's in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Recording System. That's the DoD-wide enterprise employee data tracking service.

abn13048 karma

Makes sense. Thanks for the updates. As an NCO this thread is full of helpful info. Sure, regs are regs, but the human side is by far the more important part of being a leader.

GwenBD948 karma

Good leader right here folks, and I've never met them to experience their leadership style.

GwenBD94120 karma

Pronouns will follow whatever the legally recorded gender is. So if he is living in female spaces, he'll be referred to with female terms. But most of it isn't gendered. your name is recruit, screamed at the top of their lungs. Not mr/mrs recruit.

If he would be more comfortable/safer in female spaces with female terms until he can be afforded *SLIGHTLY* more privacy, to make the shift, then I would definitely suggest holding off on that.

However, the Obama-era policy was, and likely the Biden-era policy will requiring any new recruit diagnosed with gender dysphoria to be deemed stable in their current gender expression for 18 months. So that typically means new recruits have to be post-transition, and not mid-transition to join. Or they have to not be out yet.

EbineezerGeezer88 karma

Honestly if the drills not using the correct pronouns is a concern that would make or break going into the military, then maybe they aren't prepared for what boot camp is supposed to be....

GwenBD9470 karma

AS insensitive as this sounds to trans folk, this is pretty much the reality. Prepare to put up with a *LOT* of shit, especially in basic training. If you're not ready for the absolute mental degradation, you'll have a rough time.

deadlyhausfrau50 karma

He's a trans kid in a conservative Christian familiy (other than me). He gets misgendered all the time, he's not gonna cry and go home because someone has a small mind. That's his daily reality. I was just asking what he could expect so I could tell him what to tell him to overlook or what he could safely say.

So thanks, I do have that information now.

GwenBD9418 karma

Glad to help! Continue being an awesome sibling

drkalmenius5 karma

That sucks. If you have to completely dehumanise someone to get them to fight for you, maybe your fight isn't worth it

GwenBD943 karma

Valid point, and not one I really disagree with.

monarch173337 karma

I’m 5 years on T but haven’t changed my name or gender marker yet (with a government job, but not military, btw). My day to day experience dealing with the bullshit and hassle is ridiculous. My advice is that he change name and gender ASAP, like start the process today. He does not want to be dealing with this garbage for any longer than he has to.

GwenBD949 karma

(seconding this. X.X the headaches. oh god)

WI-Do140 karma

Did you receive heightened attention or any distrust after Chelsea Manning came out as trans? Did fellow sailors share anxiety, concern, or suspicion of you because of a high profile case involving a trans individual?

GwenBD9497 karma

I have not no, and can't say I'm very familiar with her existence or what makes her name well known eitther.

cocaine-cupcakes88 karma

She was caught leaking classified data to Wikileaks. She claimed whistleblower status but was found guilty. At the time she was still identifying as male but during her imprisonment began her transition process which led some to speculation that she was being mistreated in the military justice system. Not sure how true that last part is but it was widely speculated about in the media.

GwenBD94122 karma

which led some to speculation that she was being mistreated in the military justice system. Not sure how true that last part is but it was widely speculated

I wouldn't be surprised by that. Prison systems as a whole, across the board, have a habit of mistreating trans inmates.

edit: whole>hole

WI-Do26 karma

The reason I asked was that I have some family members who are veterans or former military spouses that agreed with Trumps actions to attempt to ban trans folk from the military. Their arguments sometimes focused on mental health, in which they would use the Chelsea Manning case as supposed evidence.

It's good to hear that it didn't cause you any additional issues.

GwenBD9474 karma

I would respond to your family with any man who ever committed treason in the history of our country, and ask if that means all men commit treason

hafdedzebra20 karma

My high ranking brother explained it this way, which is the only way it made sense to me: “Did you know we have amputee paratroopers? We do! They are some of the most bad-ass dudes you will ever meet, and I respect the hell Out of them. But. Walk into a recruiting office with one arm or one leg and say you want to be a paratrooper? We don’t do that. We are not a community service organization, we do not deliberately take on people who will require exceptional training nor do we take on people who will require life long medical care, since the government will be footing the Bill. Hell, asthma is a disqualification.”

GwenBD9413 karma

And thats the same way being trans was treated under the obama era policy.

The-_Captain137 karma

The argument many people have (to be clear, not me), is that the military supporting transitioning individuals and their medical needs places undue burden on a fighting force. What kind of accommodations has the military supported for you? Was it significantly more than for any other soldier?

Thank you for your service!

GwenBD94227 karma

Specific accommodations for me different than anyone else, other than specific care requirements (Gave me HRT, non-trans person who doesn't want HRT didn't get HRT, etc) have been nearly none. The only one I can think of is a closer line of communication with my Chain of Command, because they want to be supportive and so want me to reach out to them. Not to say anyone couldn't get this if they wanted. Most Command Master Chiefs (highest ranking enlisted person in a self-dependent command) have an open-door policy, and will talk to anyone who comes in with any issue. I'd have to say it might not be normal to have a CMC willing to meet with a potential gain (new servicemember transferring to their command) a month and a half before their reporting to work for them, but mine did.

Outside of this, the only specific accommodations I have received that have been non-standard relating to my trans identity is getting pulled out of work along with 1 other trans servicemember at my command for a 1 on 1 private hour long meeting with my Commanding Officer and our Independent Duty Hospital Corpsman the day of President Trump's out of the blue tweet to check on our mental health. Neither of us had seen or heard any info on the tweet prior to that mental health checkup with our CO.

Specific accommodations I have received un-related to my my trans identity have been much moreso. Accommodations based on my level of knowledge, skill, and value to the command. I was once water-taxi'd on a civilian water-taxi service at 4AM to meet my ship that had been underway for 2 days already, so they could have me onboard after a leave period to help pass an inspection they failed while I was on leave. I excel in administrative work (which is a big weakness for many military members) and was granted a cross-departmental transfer out of my job to another department to work in an administrative position where I was better suited.

redumbdant_antiphony140 karma

Screwed out of leave because of an inspection. Yup, you had the normal Navy experience. 🤣

GwenBD9496 karma

Indeed! I deconflicted a 3-week long leave period to go home to reenlist in front of my retired senior chief grandma who was stuck back home caring for my retired WW2 vet great-grandpa who was dying for 7 months. I waited, talked with my Chief Engineer, CO/CO/CMC, etc. We found a time to schedule it, got everyone's approval. Last minute a yard period got shifted due to an inspection, and now my leave conflicted with an underway and CO signed off on it. A week into my leave, and a day before flying home to reenlist I was instructed to return a day early. I said that wouldn't be possible as I didn't wish to spend $700 to change tickets last minute. Top Snipe told me to make it happen, I asked for verification from my leave approver (commanding officer), and it fizzled out. The day before my leave expired I was told I had a water taxi ride and to be on a pier ready to go at 4AM. They found a solution that let me reenlist, and let me help with the inspection.

TackoFell41 karma

I’m not usually fond of this phrase and the way it gets used broadly. But in this case, specifically to you, OP: thank you for your service! I admire your attitude and your courage.

GwenBD9428 karma

I'll say I generally have an uncomfortable feeling hearing it as well, but in this instance I get the sentiment! XD You're recognizing a specific struggle I went through and a specific level of effort on my part to appease the military, and honoring that specifically, vice a generalized "thank you for your service" without knowing any more of what I do/did/etc.

dewayneestes41 karma

Reading your experience makes me feel that a lot of our assumptions about people in the military are wrong.

It’s portrayed as though everyone in the military is heterosexual and homo and trans phobic. And that we should support them because that’s how it is in the military (I’ll give you a moment to gather your composure regarding the ‘everyone in the military is Hetero’ comment).

Your comment about your chain of command illustrates that there are different levels of acceptance both inside and outside of the military and that the trans and homo phobes are both in the small but vocal minority, and often times (as with Trump and literally ALL of his supporters) have literally no military experience.

girlrandal57 karma

I was in the Air Force for 7 years back in the late 90's and early 2000's and honestly, heteronormativity was the culture. I knew many gay service members and they were deeply closeted. I'm bi, and didn't tell anyone. I personally knew two people discharged under DADT. Trans folks weren't even whispered about.

The military has changed so much in the last 20 years and in very good ways. No one should have to hide who they are.

love2Vax12 karma

Early 90s the Naval Hospital that I was stationed at had a big witch-hunt. Most of the gay sailors knew each other and socialized with each other. I wasn't "family" but was close enough with a friend that he called me a cousin. One member of the family who really didn't belong in the military got pissed at the actions of another at a party, and ratted him out. Of course anyone at the party was gay or bi, so this one shithead brought down several other sailors on his way out. It sucked, because some of them were really good at their jobs, and they wanted to stay in. Two members of my department got dishonorable discharges because they were at the party, a 3rd somehow slipped through the net, but after that experience was getting out when her 4th year was done.

GwenBD9412 karma

All I can say is my heart goes out to those who fought the good fight before us and I'm sorry for their losses, but I thank them for their efforts.

GwenBD9447 karma

Very much this. Not only that, but a lot of us put aside our personal feelings at the door. I work side-by-side with a very republican very religious registered pastor who is also a government employee. Outside of work, during the worst of the pandemic I called him and asked hem personally, if he would be willing to marry my trans friend who was having a hard time finding someone to officiate. I told him he could say no, and I wouldn't think differently, and I understood he might not agree with it. We had a very frank conversation and he doesn't support or agree with it. At work, he is the most respectful, never says anything wrong or rude, always gets my name and pronouns right, guy you could imagine.

We aren't here to express our personal selves. We are here to do a job, and we set aside everything else at the door.

Treguard3 karma

The military is very LGBTQ+ friendly, even during the Trump era. Why wouldn't it be? If they got the skills, my watchbill has space for more sailors.

GwenBD9424 karma

The military as the individuals, this is very true. The military as an organizational entity not as much.

On the deckplates this was very much the mindset. "you drag in your free time? You're married to a same sex person? You and your spouse swing? You have 10 kids as a single parent? Cool. You have this watch, have a nice day shipmate!" is the norm for the msot part.

WayneBetzky16 karma

Excuse my ignorance, but what is HRT?

xyonofcalhoun56 karma

Not OP, but HRT is hormone replacement therapy. Transitions from male to female involve taking Estrogen, and from female to male, testosterone. The changes can be quite profound.

WayneBetzky7 karma

Gotcha, thanks!

GwenBD9414 karma

what they said ;)

edit: removed default masculine gendered pronoun because i'm a dweeb

TParis00ap53 karma

Not transgender at all, but I just want to say that some occupations may not have any impact at all. And there are other medical conditions that also may have an impact.

My occupation, for example, I'm a computer programmer. Makes no sense to deploy us, we can write software stateside and email it overseas. I have 17 years in and never deployed. Haven't even TDY'd overseas. Just doesn't make sense.

That's to say that I find the argument you're describing to be shallow and ill thought out. It's the kind of thing someone makes up to justify their feelings, but if you put any more thought to it, you'd realize that it doesn't hold water.

GwenBD9476 karma

Very much this. I've had more accommodations for unrelated medical issues (dislocated coccyx after breaking my tailbone, LASIK eye surgery, etc) than for related to my trans-related medical situations.

I personally chose to put off coming out to my command for a year after it was allowed because we were deploying, and I wanted to wait till we got home from deployment and were in the shipyards (the lowest operational tempo of a deployment cycle) to begin my transition. I scheduled appointments around underway periods, cancelled appointments and procedures to re-schedule due to changes in ship's schedule, etc. I (and most others in my situation) go above and beyond to ensure my existence is not a burden on me doing my job.

Genius-Imbecile108 karma

I'm a veteran of the Navy. Glad you're able to be yourself and serve. With that said. What's your favorite type of taco?

GwenBD94103 karma

Oh god, you're going to judge me! I'm allergic to capsaicin so plain ground beef, unseasoned, with melted cheese. X.X

Bevelled36 karma

Holy snap. Spicy food is amazing I’m sorry to hear that.

GwenBD9426 karma

I love trying new things, and I am a huge foodie. Being unable to experience anything with any form of spice is truly horrific. X.X

Indifferentchildren3 karma

Can you tolerate the different kind of heat from horseradish? It isn't the same, but it can be nice!

GwenBD945 karma

I've never delved into it because of my general fear of spicy stuff already, but knowing it's a different type of spicy I might have to look more into it and see if it is something I might have to give a try!

EmperorStark99 karma

How have the three eras differed for you and your experience? Did you notice a large shift culture wise under the Trump admin.?

GwenBD94215 karma

So I realized I was trans in early 2013, while still in initial training, and while it was still under the early Obama-Era rules and not allowed. I vocalized my realization to a close group of internet friends, and followed it up immediately with "and I'm going to not pursue this for 20 years, because the military job, the benefits it grants me now and in future if i retire, etc., are all more important to me at this moment" Then I dissociated, packed it in a box, and let it sit in a dark hole in the back of my head for years afterwards.

After failing out of Nuke School, and going to the fleet as a rate I was not prepared for and spending 3 and a half years on a ship, I had planned to separate at my 6 year mark, after my first tour and all sea-duty time. It became more important to me to live authentically than pursue the job I had in the Navy, to the point I was willing to give up the "cushy shoreduty" life I had heard from all the senior folks. When the change in policy came around, and it started looking like I would be allowed to serve authentically I re-enlisted for another 4 years, and decided it was worth pursuing. That lead to some of the best and worst times of my career in the year immediately following.

When the Trump policy shift came about, the biggest culture shift was in a confusion from all those who wanted to help, not being clear on how to help, or the process moving forward. For many of us who had been in the process for a year or two or three, the subsequent changes in policy reset our timers to day 0 multiple times, and kept moving the goalposts on how to access care. And that's if you were blessed enough to be in the "excepted" group allowed to access care without being discharged.

Really, the biggest shifts for me personally were in dealing with the curveballs and the negative effect on my mental health (which everyone in the military service is familiar with!) it caused. That's something any servicemember can empathize with.

Others I know have had much worse experiences than me so I won't speak to the culture shift for them, but for me I didn't experience any major cultural changes in my immediate vicinity in service, moreso online and in popular media.

neffnet79 karma

I'm not trans and not military, I learned a lot from reading this thread and your answers, thanks

GwenBD9442 karma

thats my goal! I like to educate people and give them more information. Thanks for reading!

balsawoodperezoso15 karma

Good old nnptc. Did not care for that place. Did they still try making people feel shitty for being "nuke waste" at that point?

GwenBD9416 karma

the NNPTC side yes, once I got to DTP and to the fleet, nah. That shit was gone.

balsawoodperezoso7 karma

Yeah, felt like nnptc was almost a cult like place. Blowing smoke about how miles are the greatest and then ostracize anybody that doesn't make the cut.

I was med boarded for physical damage sustained in boot camp but still nobody from prior division wanted anything to do with me because that dot on my badge.

At dtp we had this old master chief i believe it was that would tell us it didn't mean shit in the fleet. I don't think he agreed with how nuke school handled such things.

Sorry to sidetrack the conversation, wasn't really planning on saying anything until i saw the nuke comment. I was in 03-04 before such changes or even such topics were mainstream enough to have any experience with it to have anything to say about the main topic

GwenBD942 karma

I got lucky with my class. They were really cool people. I was on phase 1 liberty with the sticker for a lot of power school due to PT standards, and the power school badges the badge it self defaults to phase 4 and the sticker is outside the laminate, so I was able to slice the double-laminate in half and appear to be phase 4 super easily. My last weekend before going to mast I actually went out with me entire class leadership group in civvies, and my roommate ended up ratting on me. Every single one of the leadership who I went out with lied for me, and I covered my own ass as well and lied, and the staff decided it was too much trouble to try to push another infraction onto my mast and ignored the accusation of breaking phase entirely. I still have a few of my nuke school classmates as friends on facebook and we talk relatively regularly.

Saucy_Lemur10 karma

Was it power school that got you? I am also nuke waste.

GwenBD9415 karma

Indeed. I Passed A-School (Barely lol). I did good at all the electrical knowledge math classes etc that you shared with the ETs. had good enough grades in those classes to make up for absolutely BOMBING in-rate. I failed both the in-rate class, and the in-rate portion of comp, but had good enough score on comp and overall to pass A school. My instructor said I was the only student he had ever had who failed EM-In-Rate, and passed EM A-School to get rated an EM. Then I did great at heat transfer in power school, and bombed everything else, and failed out of the program.

EmperorStark4 karma

Thanks for the lengthy reply! I for sure know the feeling of packing it into the box and ignoring it for years. I'm early in my journey, but I'm always in awe of those who have transitioned before me, especially when it was so difficult and complicated! Are the goal posts still moving now with the new admin, or have they reverted a more clear path?

GwenBD948 karma

They're always moving. Between administrative decision from politicians, new care guidelines from WPATH and world endocrinological (SERIOSULY, HOW IS THAT THE ONLY WORD I DIDN'T TYPO) society, and the military policy adjusting to all these other entities ever-changing guidelines, the playing field is always shifting. We all suck it up, and bear it, and do our best to access care as much as we can.

Jamdawg84 karma

I have a friend in the Army who recently was pinned E-7 (which doesn't matter for the question but I figured I might as well get as detailed as possible). Anyways, He is a staunch republican and is totally against trans serving in the military. His reasoning is that when you are transitioning you are ineligible for deployment so it's a waste of money for the military to have you in the military but not be "useful" in the case they need troops deployed.

Do you have a valid argument to counter this? I am 100% for trans in the military and was hoping you could help me counter his reasoning.

GwenBD94162 karma

I have never spent longer than 1 month in an undeployable status in my career, and that was for LASIK surgery offered to any service member with vision issues.

That's be my go-to argument to him. The stats he is fed by the propaganda in media that we spend 2-4 year's non-deployable is just that, propaganda.

Redditruinsjobs44 karma

I am in the military and I received the mandatory training in 2017 regarding the transition process for trans service members, and one thing that stood out to me is that it allowed an amount of non-deployable time in excess of 1 year.

So while anecdotally your situation may be different, the military has planned for and allowed non-deployable status for far larger amounts of time than are currently afforded to anybody else under the “deploy or get out” policy.

This is not propoganda.

GwenBD9486 karma

I know the policy you mention regarding a year, and that policy was specifically made with the intention of forcing the hypothetical trans person who is undeployable for longer than a year out. Made my one of the Trump-Era SECDEFs. Funny thing is, it has yet to end the career of any trans servicemembers, because we don't have periods of nondeployability in excess of a year. That's a right-wing talking point propaganda where they take the entire average length of time from beginning to end of transition and just spew "they're undeployable that whole time!" which is patently false.

Fleadip53 karma

I’m curious what your experience has been with your leadership and your peers. I’ve had several LGBTQ sailors serve under me and one transitioning sailor. I can tell you it was a little strange dealing with the pronouns, but hopefully I didn’t cross any lines? I know it all can be a mixed bag, but the military needs every able bodied person they can get regardless of who they identify as.

GwenBD9483 karma

In my book, the willingness to try and the effort is what counts. The slip ups, and the mistakes don't matter, and they happen less and less with those truly making an effort. If you asked questions earnestly, and tried to be there for your sailor, more often than not that's more than a lot of people in life will do. Peers and Leadership have been phenomenal across the board. I've had really thought-provoking random-ass civil discussions on issues with heavily right-wing coworkers, and left-wing as well. I approach them all from a point of civility, and they tend to do the same. I have never experienced deliberate issues with others. Past leaders who are no longer in my Chain of Command will still sit and talk with me and help me with navy issues out of the kindness of their heart at the smoker deck and what not. We're all just people, and most people treat it as such.

My command also knows I am very much a willing to educate mindset, and not one to run to EO/IG at the drop of a hat, and I welcome questions. I tell them "Anything said or asked earnestly once even if offensive, is fine. And we educate on why it's offensive and move on." Because of that, I had a chief who while sitting in the office one day called over to me and was like "Okay, so weird question, but I just gotta ask. Don't be offended okay? What's it like, not having balls anymore?!?" The whole office cracked up, and we had a frank conversation about it for like thirty minutes. Typical navy deckplate conversations like "well it no longer hurts like hell when I accidentally drop a tool in my groin, and it's much less restricting down there now" kinda stuff.

Thats the environment I like to have.

Karl_Marx_12 karma

Who needs pronouns in the military lol? Was in the air force and you could refer to anyone as "airman" or w.e their rank. Pronouns should be extremely easy to avoid if you are addressing everyone professionally anyways.

GwenBD9410 karma


mqrocks40 karma

Do you find attitudes differ toward males transitioning to females or females to males? Do members of a squad (sorry if that’s not the right term) have an easier time if the female becomes a male rather than vice versa, or it is all pretty much the same? Regardless, would you mind helping us understand your experience?

GwenBD9455 karma

I would say society as a whole is fixated on men>women transitions more and less so on women>men transitions. This is not the space for my hypothesis on why, and it delves into a lot of feminism talking points, that I would be happy to explain more if you wish to DM me. But that's not the tone of this post, and I don't want to bring that tone into this space.

ETA: I'm willing to share any bits of my experience, but that's a very open ended question I could write a whole literal book on. You'll have to be more specific?

xenofexk40 karma

Former Navy. Assuming you're on ship, did you have better experiences in male or female berthings?

Also, congrats on coming out while serving. I wish I could have done the same, but I wasn't diagnosed until Trump's ban went into effect. I'm glad Obama's policy did some good.

GwenBD9426 karma

DM me and I'll shoot you some resources you might not have access to.

I was on a ship, but I left a ship about 6 months into my transition. Now I'm on shore duty. Never experienced female berthing, but I have used female head facilities for the past few years.

YourMommasBFF6 karma

Have you had any detailers talk to you about your sea rotation yet? I’d imagine if you left almost 4 years ago you’re bound to rotate back to sea duty soon, I would be curious if they would keep you shore duty to be more accommodating? I hope this question doesn’t come off as rude, just generally curious as female berthings on smaller ships such as a Destroyer may be suitable as they generally only have 1 showed, so you could have your privacy.

GwenBD947 karma

Haha, I actually am not eligible to change commands, period to sea or shore, due to 2 sequential SP evals, which are due to PRT failures, so no detailers have reached out. I'm about 2 months past my PRD now, and I get out in another 6. If I was staying in I would be rotating to a ship right around now, and would have had to have these conversations with a detailer about a year ago. Detailers don't communicate much with the individual though so I would've given my info to the detailer, and awaited their decision making. Once they gave me soft orders, I would have reached out to my prospective command myself, and worked with them outside of the official channels regarding how they wanted to handle everything, same as I did when I transferred to shore duty.

metashdw33 karma

How do you feel about the immense cost to the taxpayer to maintain the empire, while basic human necessities like higher education and healthcare are left unmet at home?

GwenBD9454 karma

Absolutely horribly. I'm all for lowing the military industrial complex budget. I think it's insane. But if the system exists, and it's the best possible future for myself, I will use the system in place to better my personal future, even if I wish the system didn't exist. It's like some of the really uber-rich campaigning for higher taxes on the rich say "Yes, I pay my minimum tax bill as allowed by law, because the law exists and everyone else is taking advantage of it, and my contributions are so miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Yes I advocate for higher taxes on the rich" I don't remember the specific millionaire I remember having that platform, but I do remember one existed, and that's my mindset. The military set me up for my best future, and I need to think about my future, even if I want to advocate for smaller military spending.

piscessunscorpiomoon32 karma

What was it like continuing to serve through the time that Trump reinstated the ban? Also, have your fellow service men/women been supportive of you, or have you faced a ton of discrimination?

GwenBD9452 karma

What's it been like to serve through the ban? A headache. I made a personal decision to not pursue a number of things I was eligible to pursue related to my transition because of the absolute astronomical hurdles to achieve them. I Dealt with daily-changing instructions and guidance from on high. I Smiled and hunkered down to do my job. What any servicemember worth their salt will say. I had a job to do, and I did it, and I put everything else to the back of my mind.

Support: I have been absolutely floored by how supportive the commands i have been a part of have been. As a command from leadership, and as people who were coworkers. My first command I was a part of while transitioning I knew I was leaving shortly so I didn't come out to the crew, just my chain of command. Everyone from my Chief through the CO, and the entire medical group thrown in was aware. They were supportive in showing human decency, even if a number of them didn't get it. However, there was another trans sailor on my ship who was openly out to the entire ship, so I saw how the ship treated that sailor and it was very little negative.

My second (and current) command, I am out to nearly the whole command. Many people here watched me change from short hair to super long hair, grow body parts I didn't have before, shift which facilities I was supposed to use, helped me handle the intricacies of the Physical Fitness System/Urinalysis Program. Not only that, but I was in a very visible spot in the command for a long period of time, so even if you didn't know I Was trans, you likely knew me as a person having worked at the command. Everyone has been pretty great, even people I truly didn't expect it from.

amkeyte13 karma

To be honest, I'd bet its actually easier to transition in the military (now). The amount of support is much more than you can get in the civilian world, and the group of peers is much more close knit, with a common mission. Of course its all based on the command. Glad it worked out for you! :) All the best!

GwenBD9422 karma

Financially, and socially you're probably right, but administratively definitely not. The level of administrative bullshit on transitioning in the military is insane.

SpareCoochieuwu29 karma

Ever shoot big boom boom on ship?

GwenBD9420 karma

We have shot test missiles and I got to video tape it, same as any ship does prior to deploying. the 5" we shot quite often, always in a training or testing environment AFAIK.

Great_Palpatine24 karma

How did you interact with your fellow soldiers-in-training?

I saw that in another answer, you mentioned briefly how some of your male colleagues were confused when you were transitioning due to different uniform standards.

In the military, many soldiers do stupid things to one another e.g. play pranks. Furthermore, when only males are present, we also tend not to care too much about privacy--I have seen people walk out of the shower fully naked because they left their clothes or towels in their room. I can't speak for times when only females are present, because I have never trained together with female colleagues.

When your colleagues found out about your gender identity, did they become more private in your presence?

GwenBD9452 karma

I can't say I have noticed an increased level of privacy in my presence, but I also haven't experienced shipboard life while being out and trans. I will say there is definitely a higher level of modesty in woman-only spaces that I have been in and seen, but I don't know if that is a default or because of my presence and I just wasn't informed.

I will say the level of pranks and fooling around is no different between male only spaces, female only spaces, or mixed spaces. Just what some of the conversations center around. and even then, I've been in male-only conversations talking some really vulgar conversations about women (and felt uncomfortable), and i've been in female-only conversations talking some really vulgar conversations about men (and felt uncomfortable). Everyone's the same on the inside, human! (I HOPE!)

16note16 karma

How have other unit members responded? Did you see a difference in reaction from when you began transitioning vs. now?

GwenBD9441 karma

The biggest response was confusion when I was just starting to have visible changes. When I was allowed to follow female grooming/uniform rules a lot of the guys on our weekly uniform inspections were super confused why they'd get hit on their hair, but I wouldn't. I wasn't exactly secretive but I wasn't super vocal about it because it just *is* for me you know? I don't go around introducing myself "Hi I'm Sailor so-and-so, and I'm trans!" Chain of Command shut it down pretty well explaining I had specific documentation allowing it, and if I want to say more that's my business.

Because of the way the instructions are written to, for the Navy, you become eligible to change grooming/uniform rules quicker than you are eligible to change facility use rules. A lot of confusion from men when I'd be in the men's room at the time, with foot and a half long hair, in uniform, washing my hands, and they would come in to use the head.

As stuff progressed, it's been easier, and now that everything is officially 1 set of rules for me across the board (female), and not half/half, etc I get more genuine curiosity or educational situations vice confusion or feeling like I have some special treatment.

MissAcidDrops11 karma

TBH that sounds pretty similar to civilian life as a trans person, as far as other's curiosity goes. Most people are well-meaning, and it's clear when they ask questions that it's just something they aren't familiar with, but want to learn more. It can get a bit tiresome being an impromptu ambassador, but it sounds like you have handled this with grace and as great an attitude as you can have under constantly changing circumstances. All the best to you, OP.

GwenBD9410 karma

Pretty much this. For most people I'm the "first (that they know)" or "only (that they know)" trans person, and so I'm the single point of information. A lot of people get worn out really fast constantly educating and being the teacher in these scenarios. Luckily, that's something I excel at so it plays to my strengths.

PM_me_your_Jeep5 karma

Did there come a time where you switched berthings at your command or did you show up to your current command transitioned? If you had to switch, was it awkward or did people question it? I’m assuming things from your answers and my time on a ship and switching from a M berthing to a female berthing or the other way around seems like it could be nerve wracking.

GwenBD9426 karma

I transitioned at my current command, I showed up completely in male regulations, male-everything, while on hormones and with slowly developing breasts. I kept my hair right at the absolute limit of the male hair regulations for length, and got a haircut every 2 weeks. About 2 weeks before I was allowed to follow uniform grooming/uniform rules my supervisor actually complimented me at our twice-a-week uniform inspections as always having the most sat haircut of all the guys there. It never strayed.

There were awkward bits and questions, but I did my best to prepare for some of them. Some of them I couldn't do anything, like using male restrooms while i had feminine hair standards and visible breasts under my blouse, washing my hands at the sink in the male head and a male O2 walks in sees the back of my dead, immediately about faces back out, looks at the sign on the door, walks back in confused and staring at me. There were ones I could predict and was prepared for, when on watch my section leader stopped by the quarterdeck and attempted to correct me on my hair, and I explained "I have an approved exception to policy authorizing my hair", he got a confused "idfk what that means" look and moved on, likely questioning my chief in the chief's mess later about it. I got asked by a chief of another division once about my hair, to which i said the same, and he responded "shipmate, what the hell does that mean". I was prepared and kept a shrunk-down copy of my paperwork in my wallet, pulled it out and handed it to him. It mentioned I was trans, so he read it and saw, he then shifted gears to ask me questions about how that whole process works and how I was treated.

I made sure to sacrifice my privacy and my ability to hide to ensure less ruffled feathers and less bad situations I ended up in, by making sure I always had the policy on hand, and on my side.

LargeBike15 karma

What's your gender identity and your sex assigned at birth?

GwenBD9418 karma

Female gender identity, male assigned at birth. Very well-phrased to not be offensive friend, <3

Coquaman13 karma

Is it still not gay if you’re underway? With love, a crayon eater

GwenBD9419 karma

Only queer at the Pier my jarhead friend! Hooyah!

Thievasaurus11 karma

Hello! Thank you very much for taking the time to host an AMA!

My question to you is: how often does the simple fact of being transgender interfere with how your fellow service men and women treat you? And your commanding officers as well. I imagine there are plenty who are able to mind their own business and take care of the task at hand, but also plenty who would be hung up over it.

Thank you very much for your time, and thank you for your continuing years of service!

GwenBD944 karma

Very little! I've been treated with respect up and down the chain of command very much so!

thatchyfern8 karma

Would you recommend joining to other transgender people? Why or why not?

GwenBD9417 karma

That's a very individual case-by-case question. The best generalization I can give is "would I recommend it to someone considering it purely for the medical resources with no other reason or call to server?" then no. While the access to care may treat one aspect of your mental health well, the service of the military will destroy your mental health in other ways. It is not something I would suggest if that was your only reason for joining.

"If someone is already considering joining the military for other reasons, and strongly for it, who *happens to be trans*?" Maybe. Thats a very personal decision with a plethora of pros and cons, that I would be more than willing to address with anyone on a one-on-one. I spent a number of years working with Career Councilors as a side-duty, and it's a passion of mien to help others achieve what they want to achieve for themselves. But those aren't one-size-fits-all conversations.

Cycro7 karma

Were you authorized by your chain to represent the Navy with this AMA? (Serious).

GwenBD944 karma

I don't see it as representing the Navy, Nothing I have said has been an attempt to speak for the Navy, and some of what I have said has definitely not been speaking for the Navy. I have asked permission to do similar pieces in media through my PA office multiple times in the past, and any time I've asked they've said "are you going to be in uniform? Are you going to be off-duty? Then go for it and we don't care."

GotMuchToLearn7 karma

How did things change when you started transitioning? Regarding your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as your social life. Did it cause an impact?

GwenBD9418 karma

Mentally I noticed a number of shifts. The first big "oh wow, hormones play a huge part in mental state" moment I had was when watching the Adam Sandler comedy Fifty First Dates for like the bazillionth time in my life and the first time I had seen it in years about a year after starting hormones, I teared up at the kiss on the beach scene. I was like "wtf why am I CRYING at this, I knew it was coming!" Hormones are a bitch! Physical wellbeing, I was briefed on the common side effects, and unfortunately I put on weight and lost muscle mass due to the treatment, which is part of why I am getting out of the military now. I knew it was a possible outcome and accepted it. Social life, it's gotten a load better wince transitioning. I am much more social, go out with people and hang out, stuff like that a lot more. I don't know why the shift in my demeanor there, but there is clear differences to my standard social pattern prior to and after transitioning.

GotMuchToLearn6 karma

Thanks a bunch for answering! To me, the scary thing always was the fear of losing friends/family that can't accept the new me, and never could quite get over it.

I am glad you are doing fine, wish you the best !:D

GwenBD9412 karma

I was truly prepared to never speak to my mom again when I came out to her. She surprised me and the whole family and ran with it and completely opened herself up to learning. I think a part of that is she had 3 sons and always wanted a daughter, and while Not in the manner she would have expected, she now had one. She goes out of her way to try to do feminine stuff with me whenever we are together, so I think she just loves having a daughters to be feminine with.

GotMuchToLearn2 karma

That sounds so wholesome! She must be an awesome mother. What about your brothers or friends? Are they as open minded as well?

GwenBD944 karma

They have been yes. I've had one of the least difficult acceptance level from my circles of anyone I know. I got truly lucky.

drillerboy6 karma

Being In the navy have you seen any merpeople (mermaids and the like) or other mythical sea creatures and phenomenon? Would you fuck one? Or recommend fuckin one?

GwenBD949 karma

Never seen one, wish I had.

Would absolutely be sexually interested in glorious merpersons if they ever graced me with their presence.

Will get back to you on a recommendation after the fact

mxfs5 karma

Soon-to-be military physician here. What role did your PCM and other healthcare providers play? Any advice for military medical folks to help us help servicemembers transitioning or considering it? Thanks!

GwenBD947 karma

PCM is the major pusher and mover here. All referrals and whatnot goes through them. as a PCM, being supportive and listening to your patient is pretty much the best advice. I have the best PCM. He pretty much refers me to any specialist i ask without asking me to prove to him why that's necessary. He recognizes that he isn't super familiar with the process. I asked him for a referral to a specialty clinic at another hospital 4 hours away, and he didn't try to ask me why he couldn't refer me to the same clinic at the local hospital, he just did it. The reason, is the local hospital plastics department head refuses to provide trans-affirming care in his department (military allows the docs to make that choice). The clinic I got referred to does do the surgery I wanted, and has done it for other servicemembers.

other healthcare providers, basically being supportive, and doing the research for any specific specialty they are in if they aren't familiar. My mental health provider who gave me my initial diagnosis I was his first ever case of a patient seeking a diagnosis for gender dysphoria. He did research, asked his circles, pulled out the DSM, and worked through it, rather than shutting it down or pawning it off. That's not always a given in the military.

Once you meet someone who is trans in the military, keep their info. exchange personal contact info. We've been there, done that, and are more familiar with the ever-changing regulations that pertain to our care than a physician that handled it once, a year ago. Because we have to be. We also have our own circles and communities for sharing info. Call your old patient up and ask if you can pass their contact info on to new patients, and get the newbie into those same circles. Stuff like that goes soooooo far.

Advocate for us to your colleagues, change opinions from your side if you're comfortable. get them to accept trans patients as just another patient, and not as some new alien oddity they're scared to touch with a ten foot pole.

mxfs5 karma

Thanks for the response! I'm glad you've got a good doc, and it's good to know that the system seems to be working (or at least is capable of working) and letting folks get the care they need, even if the military can't provide it within DOD. I'll definitely keep all this in mind as I'm moving into the next phase of my career.

GwenBD943 karma

Feel free to hit me up with any more questions you may have!

cbrad17133 karma

One of the excuses that was made by the Trump administration for cracking down in trans-identified people in the military is that the supply chain for drug treatments/therapies is quite difficult for the military to maintain. I can imagine being in the Army in remote parts of Iraq and Afghanistan that this argument makes a lot of sense, but does it hold up in your experience from the perspective of being in the Navy?

GwenBD943 karma

Speaking from secondhand knowledge on army and marine servicemembers on hormone treatment in the field, they find a way to make it work, and take enough with them when they go out that it isn't an issue. In the navy, like you said it isn't much of an issue. The way the navy works is prior to any extended underway with medical needs, you're supposed to let Doc know of your needs and prescriptions if they aren't already aware of them, doc orders them, and stocks them. For meds that don't have a long enough shelf life, he gets resupplies when we stop on foreign ports with forward-deployed US military presence. We stopped in Crete Greece once, and I saw a navy primary care physician for pain in my shoulder on the US side of a NATO base there. The dynamics of how the Navy operates requires a robust supply chain already, so the supply chain already exists. We would have underway replenishments with a civilian-operated ship 1-2 times a week for our deployment, as well as restock every time we pulled in to port. For food, fuel, parts, etc.

zakats3 karma

How do you fix your bagels?

GwenBD942 karma

sliced in half, toasted, with cream cheese, preferably flavored.

Couch_dreams3 karma

What do you plan to do after your service contract ends?

GwenBD948 karma

I have a Class-A Commercial Driver's License, and will finish my Bachelor's of Business Administration in Finance this year. My mom is also a self-employed government contracting consultant in California and makes 6 figures, and ahs asked me to work with her many times. I still have 6-8 years worth of college benefits left through various programs. I haven't decided exactly what my future holds, but I have a world of options

Goat_6663 karma

What's your job in the navy? How is it, you find it interesting and/or "best job I've ever done", or is more like "kinda meh, but it pays my bills"?

GwenBD942 karma

I'm an Electrician. I learned a lot of good information and I'm glad for the experience, but it's definitely not a job I would pick to work in the future, and not one I supremely love. Pays the bills, and that's what counts.

TheKFakt0r3 karma

I saw you failed out of Nuke School. Which phase was it that got you? What'd they rerate you to? Were nukes more or less supportive of your transition than other rates were?

GwenBD942 karma

Power school, a few weeks before comp. The last test I passed was the second to last test of heat transfer, then I failed everything from there till I was removed from the program.

Kept my rate, went conventional as an EM.

I'd say the quantity of trans nukes to any other single rate is astronomically higher believe it or not, but they also have a much higher burden of administrative hassle was well. They were getting de-nuked for being trans long into the Obama-era policy. Same with Submariners. I know in 2019 I was going to group therapy with the first "test-case" trans sailor who was a submariner nuke who didn't get de-nuked or kicked off subs. Shit's wild out here.

WildIcePick3 karma

As a trans servicemember, from your perspective what is the biggest benefit and biggest disadvantage about trans people serving?

GwenBD9411 karma

Biggest benefit is that you have people who want to do the job, are willing to do the job, and are capable of doing the job, doing the job.

Biggest disadvantage is the political hot potato that comes out of it because american politics are dumb.

i4get982 karma

Are there any roles within the military that you are now "more" qualified for? same idea, "less" qualified for?

GwenBD942 karma

I think I would do better now in any roles in Equal Opportunity, Victim Advocacy, or Counseling. Whether that be a Career Counselors, Instructor, Trainer, etc. I've had to do a lot of my own footwork in digging through the administrative side of the military and gotten quite good at it, as well as experienced unique situations that let me better understand how others may be experiencing unique situations. I always gained a lot more ability to emotional empathize with others and see different viewpoints.

Any heavily physical roles I am definitely much less suited for now. I was never very physical to begin with, and that only degraded throughout my transition, so I am even less capable in physically demanding positions now.

TylertheDouche2 karma

Are you male to female? Or female to male?

Do you hangout with more women or men?

What is your job? Have you been deployed as transgender? Or transitioning? Can you be deployed?

How do you perceive you affect group/team morale?

Which group do you physically PT/PRT with? Advantages and disadvantages here

What aspects of your job can you or can’t you do during, before, or after your transition?

How do you feel about policy and procedures changing to support pretty much you only - can a “healthy” male get TRT? HRT? HGH? Steroids?

How do you feel about others feeling very uncomfortable around you? - in bathroom, shower, close-quarter situations/sleeping situations, general talk amongst men/women.

Do you know the statistics of suicide among military members? And those among transgender population? How do you feel about being in both of those at-risk groups?

Depending on your job, do you think the military is the place for such a dramatic change? Should the military pay for these changes?


GwenBD944 karma

Assigned Male at birth is now more commonly accepted terminology than male to female for my situation, due to some mental associations it makes with some folk. I don't have an issue but I like to respect others' boundaries.

I am an Electrician's Mate. Just a military-esque name for an industrial electrician basically. I have not been deployed while transitioning no. I can yes. I am fit for full duty, and have no non-deployable status issues.

Current PRT standards are female. The PT side is easier, but the weight/body fat standards are harder. Having the physique that comes from a testosterone-fueled puberty but using the feminine metrics for mod fat measurement weigh against me negatively.

a Healthy male can get HRT yet. My navy-officer urologist who performed my orchiectomy offers testosterone pellets he typically employs in late-in-life men who have hormonal levels below where he wants them. OB/GYN does the same for women, cis or trans. I have not received a single medical procedure or treatment not already offered by the military to cisgender servicemembers currently, in other situations.

If others feel uncomfortable around me I respect their feelings, and want to help address them to help overcome their discomfort. What is making them uncomfortable? In a bathroom, I'm there to shit, wash my hands, and gtfo because it *reeks*. In a shower, I walk into the private shower stall with a bran and underwear and towl on, and walk out the same way. I go out of my way to look only at the ground, or my locker. And not involve myself in others' conversations unless they deliberately involve me. IDK what they're doing when they're sleeping, but i'm sleeping. I'm trying to knock tf out so I can be up in 4 hours for my watch with as much sleep as I can get. I tend to keep myself out of conversations unless others pull me into them so I avoid conversations with people who would feel uncomfortable having them in front of me. What more can I do to make others comfortable if they aren't already? I'm not trying to invade your space, I'm trying to survive and exist as a human being, and do my business in my own lil corner of the world.

I addressed the suicide rate higher up in a really well-laid out answer that addresses nearly perfectly this question, and I really don't want to type it all out again. If you're truly curious, please feel free to browse other answers, as I want you to get the information you seek.

What about it is a dramatic change? As to costs, we had a pretty good conversation about that up above to.

Karl_Marx_2 karma

Do you have a PT test tailored to women or men? Also, what gender was your fleet in basic training?

GwenBD943 karma

I was in a male division, not mixed. I take the female PT tests, as all my administrative documentation classifies me as female, across the board. Administratively, I follow every female rule. I even get letters in the male about my pap smear that I am delinquent on since 1912! (I guess that's a default date entry when they don't have a date of your last PAP? XD)

Karl_Marx_2 karma

That's very interesting, do you think that gives you an edge? At least in the AF had different standards for PT tests. I actually kind of disagree with it as a whole. We should all have the same standard in my eyes but that's a different discussion. Thanks for all of the responses btw.

GwenBD945 karma

Oh god know! If I had switched to female the second I came out as trans, possibly. But after years of estrogen, I've lost any advantage I may have had. and it gives me a disadvantage on the weight/body fat standards. for those that went through testosterone-induced puberty, the female eight/body fat standards are super hard.

NedThomas2 karma

How’s your day going?

GwenBD943 karma

Pretty good so far, lots of good discourse here, and one person has already said they gained a new perspective on an issue because of this threads existence, so it's a job well done in my book! Thanks for asking

NigglingChigger2 karma

Did you fire any shotguns? I think they’re cool!

GwenBD943 karma

I have not no. I fired a pistol in boot camp. Other than that, i've never handled a gun in the execution of my military duties.

Draemalic2 karma

Do you wear your cover outdoors? If you don't you drop and smoke yourself. I have yelled at so many people in the last 10 years being out of the service. Wear you goddamn covers soldiers. I don't care what you identify as our what is between your legs. Follow the fucking rules.

GwenBD942 karma

Amen to this. If you're outside without a cover, and you're not on a navy ship underway, you're wrong.

wyldsoft2 karma

What has changed policy-wise? Also I wasn't there for the first AMA, and weirdly this isn't the most upvoted question, but why are you serving for a country where 48%ish people think your rights don't matter?

GwenBD9416 karma

I'm not serving my country to serve my country or for other people, or any sense of duty. I'm serving my country for a paycheck, for a college education, and for medical insurance. (and the medical part, was a decision made before I knew I was trans).

What's changed policy wise? That's a looong question. From the time I raised my right hand and swore an oath we've gone from Don't Ask Don't Tell, to open service by homosexual Americans but still a dischargeable offence to pursue transition, to still not "allowed" but the discharge has to be signed by the Secretary of your branch, and the President told his secretaries to not sign them, to Allowed open service, to like 10 different administrative versions of what constitutes allowed open service, to disallowed open service, to the current limbo we're in awaiting new policy to be written to return to allowed open service. It's a whole lot more complicated than all of that but that's the basics.

FLhardcore2 karma


GwenBD942 karma

EM! ET's are just computer nerds

Saraieth2 karma

How much cake do you think you could eat in a single sitting?

Edit: Credit to u/djdunkinflonuts for asking this question last AMA

GwenBD941 karma

I have extremely sweet-sensitive teeth so it would depend on the cake, but probably no more than a single slice of any rich cake.

ItsSobee2 karma

Active Duty Marine here, my question is less to do with being trans and more with the body weight standards of the Navy. What’s up with that? Some of the most cut people I’ve ever seen were crash fire on my MEU but some of the clearly overweight and should be out of regs people also come from the navy. Why the diametric?? Also I guess my question can be directed for you as well, does that bother you? I’ve also personally know of a individual who “transitioned” with the sole intent of escaping the height weight/fitness standards. How do you feel about people like this and their impact on your mission as a transgender person in the navy?

GwenBD948 karma

weight standards are a complete joke yes. It depends on where your weight is located. for super-ripped folk, who have a slim neck but a finely muscled abdomen, they can be considered borderline overweight by the over-simplified body fat calculations the navy does. I touched on this above, having gone through a testosterone-induced puberty, conforming to the feminine body fat measurements is supremely difficult because it effects fat placement.

Meanwhile, a lot of overweight folk have a great ability to suck in their bellies, and have fat necks, and this counteracts the calculation in their favor.

I can't say I've known anyone who transitioned to escape the fitness standards, if they were transitioning from male>female I don't know how. the female standards are lower weight per same height, and the way the measurements are taken, the same person would measure at about 15-20% higher BF on the female calculation than the male calculation, so it definitely counteracts the 10-15% extra body fat women are allowed to have as compared to men.

As to my thoughts towards those people, they are making my life and my fight for my right to exist harder, which isn't cool, but they're also malingering which is against military law.

KingMelray2 karma

How does the Navy interact with the Airforce since the Navy has it's own airforce?

GwenBD942 karma

We don't really outside of joint bases and shared medical facilities and support facilities sometimes. As you said, the Navy has it's own airforce. For operational requirements, we're self sufficient. Now the Airforce has more big-planes for like passengers and cargo planes, so when we need to send servicemembers to some foreign base overseas, we often hop on airforce flights.

AnnaLindeboom1 karma

What are your pronouns?

GwenBD9410 karma

She/her, thanks for asking!

eno4evva1 karma

How did the military address your gender dysphoria, if you had any in the first place? From what I hear they pretty much cross off anyone with any hint of mental health issues and I’m sure some trans applicants for the military have dysphoria and I wonder how they approach it.

GwenBD942 karma

So I'm lucky that I don't present with nearly any dysphoria. Growing up I was allowed to express myself however I wanted. When I was eight and asked for an EZ-Bake oven, my mom was scandalized and taught me how to *ACTUALLY* bake, and grandma bought me an ex-bake oven for Christmas for fun.

When I was doing homework in my mom's closet at a desk I had set up in there to avoid distractions because I was heavily ADHD, and walked out wearing my mom's heals, she taught me how to *actually* walk in heals through her giggles.

Because I was never steered towards expressing myself in ways other than I wanted, I never welt dysphoric about my self-expression.

The Navy did *NOT* know how to handle that, while pursuing a diagnosis as trans, let me tell you! I didn't fit into the cookie cutter mold of "this is what being trans means" the military had established, and it made it hard for my mental health provider to diagnose me.

blockhead123451 karma

How has your has your experience changed throughout your service and different administrations? Is this a result of your growth/changes as a person (both physically and just with age and maturation), changes in administration, shifts in people’s opinions, or something else? In other words, how has it changed and what has affected that?

GwenBD944 karma

I've gone from loving the navy to hating the navy. Wanting to stay to to can't wait to get out. Wanting to do 20 years to wanting to get out as soon as possible. And back and forth and vice versa. all over the place. Some of the changes in my mindset were due to navy culture outside of this issue. Some were due to the American culture. Some were due to personal situations. Some were due to the different policy shifts towards trans servicemembers. Like any other servicemember, my mind has changed more often than I can count.

I walked into a recruiter's office in summer 2011 saying I wanted to join the military in the reserves to pay for college. I went Navy over any other branch because in the recruiting station with ever branch represented, at 1PM on a Tuesday, they were all closed, and the Navy had a business card with a phone number taped to the door. 10 years later, Here's me 9 years on active duty.

Zylo99-2 karma

During the Trump era, did people treat your more harsh or would you say it was the same?

GwenBD9415 karma

In my small bubble of my command and my community? The same.

Navy Culture as a whole, the internet, etc? Slightly worse.

codestuffz-5 karma

What makes you want to serve a government that is largely against you/your transition?

GwenBD9411 karma

They give me money, college benefits, and medical insurance. In USA that's hard to come by.

RedBull7-6 karma

How did the rule of “Don’t ask, don’t tell affect you” and do think it should be back in place?

Marina-Sickliana8 karma

DADT was repealed in 2011 which allowed gay service members to be honest about their orientation. At that time, trans service members were still legally required to stay in the closet and did not have access to trans healthcare.

I fail to see how this question is relevant to a trans service member today who joined in 2012. Also, there are exactly 0 people in serious military policy discussions in favor of restoring DADT.

GwenBD942 karma

while I joined in 2012, I swore in in 2011, before DADT was repealed. They had no way of knowing, but it was a valid question I could answer.

GwenBD944 karma

It was repealed during the time between my swearing in and when I shipped to boot camp, So it affected me very little. At the time I considered myself an Ally but not a part of the LGBTQ+ umbrella, so I was also outsider looking in. I do not think it should be reinstated. Training military personal is an expensive process, and we have retention issues in the military. kicking people out for something that doesn't affect their ability to do their job is a bad way to fix retention issues.

Fuhreeldoe-10 karma

In our culture female life is more highly protected than that of men's. Women aren't susceptible to the draft, sent to the frontlines, are expected to work life-threatening jobs like miners or drillers, and are still prioritized on sinking air and water craft. As a transgender individual in a combat-oriented profession, what do you think about this dichotomy?

GwenBD943 karma

I am all-for equal-rights. That means across the board. More women CEOs, equal pay rates, paid pregnancy/family leave, better access to feminine hygiene products, more women in STEM roles, all good things. Abolishing the draft, or having women sign up for the draft if not abolished, equal rights in family courts for fathers, etc, also good things.

There is a massive dichotomy that for the most part elevates men, but in some specific instances puts women on a pedestal. Equal means Equal. Everything should be equal.