When the news broke on Monday that President Joe Biden Ban revoked On transsexuals serving in the army, army captain. Alivia Stehlik felt a lifted weight off her shoulders.
Stehlik said, “I kind of got used to it until one day someone says, ‘Let me take that for you.'”
With 13 years of military experience – from West Point to Ranger School to a tour of Afghanistan – Stehlik worked her way through the ranks to her current position as a physiotherapist at Fort Carson, Colorado, where she began to emerge as a transgender woman.
over there About 15,000 people They are now serving in the military and identified as transgender, according to advocacy organization SPART * A. After Monday’s Executive Order, potential recruits will no longer need to conceal their gender identity when seeking to enlist.
The ban, which Trump first enacted in 2017, has been backed by the United States Supreme court In 2019, there was a reaction to the Obama-era directives in 2016 that opened the door for transgender people to join the military.
For decades prior to the 2016 order, there was no explicit ban on transgender people becoming members of the service, but those discharged as such were considered medically ineligible. This was the case in 2010, when Stilick first realized it was a fleeting one.
“I knew it was bad,” said Stelik. “It wasn’t supposed to be what I was, you can just say.” It waited until the 2016 order to begin a year-long process of public disclosure, starting with supervisors who could allow medical care to relocate.
Prohibition used multiple arguments as a justification: Transgender people were unable to do the job; Their medical care will be expensive or complicated; That would cause national security issues. During the US House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee Hearing in February 2019None of this was true, Stehlik testified.
“It’s under the guise of being prepared,” he told the Colorado Sun newspaper. “But what you say at the end of the day is that we’re not going to give you proper medical care for the things that happen to you, which is a mockery to me.”
The ban was put in place for transgender people who walked out of the locker before April 12, 2019, so Stehlik was able to continue her move. But she said it was appalling to tell trans soldiers and potential recruits that they were not allowed to serve openly who they were.
“How do I say to a young soldier, I want to take care of you and do the right thing, and you cannot move because this is what the policy says, and I can because I got out from you?” Stehlik said. “For me, that was a crime, really.”
Stehlik considers herself lucky to have the privilege of getting the care she needs relatively easily because she has come out in public.
“You just have to live in it and hope that others treat you well,” Stehlik said, and most of the time they do, either because they generally accept trans people, or because they usually outpace them.
In her current rank, Stehlik could personally go to someone who is just a couple of higher ranks and get a permit for Medicare, which for many trans people would include hormone replacement therapy or sex confirmation surgeries.
She notes that younger members do not have that easy access to the military bureaucracy, especially since relocation care requires authorization from a higher-ranking official than other important medical care. With the ban now lifted, Stehlik hopes to see that change go forward.
“If the recovery time is not different, then why is this the case?” Stehlik said. “We must be like everyone else.”
Biden’s executive order gives the Department of Defense 60 days to report on progress reversing the ban, including correcting the record for those who were fired on the basis of their gender identity. Stehlik believes repeal is a good start and is keen to see more than just tolerance for differences in the armed forces.
“I really don’t want all of my people to behave or be the same,” said Stleck. “If we were to appreciate that and appreciate all of ourselves, I think we would see a marked difference in what we could do and how we could do it. People would learn to think differently and evaluate different solutions in a way that I don’t think we’ve done well overall.”
But this is a long battle, and today Stalker and many other soldiers are celebrating.
“We welcome you back in the team in this big and meaningful way,” said Stelik. “Today is the best day in two years.”