Editors' note: Pam Daniels is a writer and activist with 23 years experience in broadcast news and media including the staff of a former Governor.
Those of us in the LGBT community have much to celebrate this holiday season. Ted Olsen and David Boies win federal court recognition of our birthright to marry as we choose. LCR wins federal court recognition for lesbians and gays to serve openly in our military then our House and Senate pass repeal of DADT that was signed by our president. Gender congruent lesbian women and gender congruent gay men have much to feel wonderful about this Chanukah, Christmas and New Years Day. All over these United States many glasses of champagne will "ching, ching" while toasting a job well done and job well done it is!
I'm an atheist raised Roman Catholic who still tears up every time I watch A Christmas Carol (and I make time to watch the old Reginald Owen and newer Patrick Stewart versions), but I'm also a total sucker for Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. I'm a spiritual atheist who tries hard every day to live by the Golden Rule.
My heart is heavy right now even though I can see the brilliant smiles on lesbian and gay faces, feel the warmth in their hearts for the extraordinary progress made in 2010. My heart is heavy because I know a lovely, kind, courteous and patriotic trans-woman serving in Afghanistan right now. Jenn saw combat in the first Persian Gulf War and three deployments to Iraq before finally coming to grips with her true self and deciding to transition in 2010.
But something happened. Her country called.
Her country extended her service for another year and sent her to Afghanistan. I asked Jenn this past summer before she reported for duty, "Can't you get some kind of medical reason to retire?" Jenn said, "No honey I can't, and besides I want to leave on a high note. I'm good at what I do and I enjoy doing it!" I cried for days after that phone conversation.
Oh, Jenn and I are not lovers, just dear transgender friends who found each other and support each other's respective struggle to finally live as our true selves, women. That one sentence doesn't nearly do justice to our friendship and just as important our desire to help each other transition and live full time in our true gender roles, our true gender identities.
I have only one request of all readers. When your glasses of champagne (or whatever else you drink responsibly) "ching, ching" toasting the progress we've made this past 2010, please think of Jennifer and the tens of thousands of transgender people in our military who serve now and have served from the beginning of our great republic with honor and often distinction who've been left behind this past year.
There are millions more of us living in fear all over planet Earth. We owe the existence of our computers, smart phones and the Internet to a trans-woman engineer, but I want you to imagine the heating and air conditioning person (another friend of mine) or mechanic or doctor or lawyer, so many occupations, all of you know these people. We trans people are in your midst every single day, deeply closeted, all trans people who live in sheer terror that someone might find out they are transgender. Think and pledge when you raise your glasses to also stand with us!
I'm thinking of two more quotes, "Whatsoever you do for the least that you do unto me" and "Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses? Best we decrease the surplus population!"
We must pass Inclusive ENDA and repeal DOMA!