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Thread: Film about CD in the U.S. military

  1. #1
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    Film about CD in the U.S. military

    I made a short film about a cross dresser in the U.S. military and have a producer interested in making it into a feature (full length movie.)

    Nobody I've talked to is aware that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" excludes transgender service members - something I wasn't aware of either, until I started working on this project. So I really want to tell a good story and build awareness.

    I met with a retired Army Infantry Officer and his wife - they saw the short and have been very supportive of expanding the story. They ended up inviting me to stay with them for a few days! It was amazing to hear both of their stories. They were so honest and gracious, and introduced me to their transgender friends. We all got to go out one night on the town, too! (But that's another story.)

    The main character is active duty in the Army and up for a top secret security clearance. Has anyone who is TG been up for a security clearance? If so, what was your experience, and were you denied or granted the clearance? (The film is NOT a documentary - it's fiction, so anonymity is guaranteed. Please feel free to send me a PM.)

    Another character is retired from the Army and has had SRS - MTF. If anyone is in this position, what was your life like while you served in the military, how is your life now, and are you still in touch with your military friends/colleagues?

    I'm working on revising the script, and am finding that even though I've done a lot of research about security clearances and CD'ing, I'm doing a lot of guesswork in terms of the military, and want the story to be realistic.

    Any thoughts or other resources are most welcome.

    Thank you in advance, and thank you for your service!

  2. #2
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    This is a sticky subject for those who have to enforce the rules and the double standard continues here. Women's uniform regulations allow them to have short hair(there is no minimum length, and off duty there are not usually civilan clothes policies unless you are a Marine or overseas. I have seen several transgendered women openly dressing in men's clothing. A couple of them pass for male in and out of uniform.

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    Member TxCassie's Avatar
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    I believe there was a army (I think) TGal a few years ago that was denied top level security clearance due to his SRS. As a he, had been a top level infantry officer, I believe, might had been a ranger. I wish I could remember her name. You might be able to strumble across the person if you google it. military, transgender, etc... Wish I could be a more help.

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    Miriam
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    I'm sure that many transgendered folks hold security clearances - just viewing the world statistically if nothing else. I've had everything up to and including a TS through the years, though not currently at that level.

    Miriam

    I should add that there is no provision against CDs in the regulations about security clearances for civilians. The only thing that might apply is the all-encompassing "adverse information" provision, but this would only apply if you could be blackmailed with the knowledge.

    Miriam
    Last edited by Lorileah; 05-31-2013 at 10:43 AM. Reason: merged consecutive posts. try and merge posts with edit when you post so close together thanks

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    Aspiring Member Edyta_C's Avatar
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    In the past, CD,TS, or Gay were complete roadblocks to a security clearance. In the 70's any hint of that and if you had a clearance it was pulled. NSA and CIA wanted to vet your dates. In agency dates were encouraged. But times have changed. Still I would not expect much from those on top. Remember it was the Executive branch of our government that forced the Army Air Corp to allow blacks to fly (tuskeegee airmen). It wasn't the military's idea. So TG, TS, and Gays will only get a fairer deal if the rest of the government forces it.

    Edy

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    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
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    As you start writing and networking about your script others will come to light with leads about security and other matters.
    There are a lot of suggestions here already.
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    and beauty will follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TxCassie View Post
    I believe there was a army (I think) TGal a few years ago that was denied top level security clearance due to his SRS. As a he, had been a top level infantry officer, I believe, might had been a ranger. I wish I could remember her name. You might be able to strumble across the person if you google it. military, transgender, etc... Wish I could be a more help.
    Thank you for this! I did a google search and couldn't find this person, but I'll keep digging..

    Quote Originally Posted by Miriam-J View Post
    I should add that there is no provision against CDs in the regulations about security clearances for civilians. The only thing that might apply is the all-encompassing "adverse information" provision, but this would only apply if you could be blackmailed with the knowledge.

    Miriam
    Yes, my understanding is that blackmail could be the problem. If loved ones/colleagues do not know the person up for the top secret security clearance is a cross dresser, it could be used against them. But for someone in the military, you're not allowed to openly serve as transgender, so your colleagues have to know, even though this could get you kicked out, if the wrong person found out. Ideally, nobody cares as long as your cross dressing doesn't affect your ability to do your job, but you never know. This is my understanding, from what I've heard/read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edyta_C View Post
    In the past, CD,TS, or Gay were complete roadblocks to a security clearance. In the 70's any hint of that and if you had a clearance it was pulled. NSA and CIA wanted to vet your dates. In agency dates were encouraged. But times have changed. Still I would not expect much from those on top. Remember it was the Executive branch of our government that forced the Army Air Corp to allow blacks to fly (tuskeegee airmen). It wasn't the military's idea. So TG, TS, and Gays will only get a fairer deal if the rest of the government forces it.

    Edy
    Thanks, Edy. Excellent point. Here's an article that addresses the issue of whether the military should first allow transgender military members to openly serve, or if the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) should first remove Gender Identity Disorder. Opposing viewpoints towards the end of the article:

    http://outservemag.com/2012/01/the-n...ender-service/

    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley Sims View Post
    As you start writing and networking about your script others will come to light with leads about security and other matters.
    There are a lot of suggestions here already.
    Agreed! Thank you, Beverly.
    Last edited by Shelly Preston; 05-31-2013 at 04:08 AM. Reason: Merged - Please use the multi quote button

  8. #8
    Adventuress Kate Simmons's Avatar
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    I was in Army Intel and had a TS&C clearance. They lapse after 5 years. I also know NSA and CIA guys who are CDers. I do find this film and the interest in it almost too good to be true though, given the danger a TG person would be putting themself in. Believe me, I know.
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    Senior Member Allison Chaynes's Avatar
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    I knew of one full time TS and one closted CD we found out about by accident. Both were enlisted, no security clearance. As far as I know neither ever had problems from other soldiers or leadership.

    Funny related story- my last day on Active Duty, my commander asked me what could be made better about the unit and the Army? I told him equal standards for all, for example, why can't I have a full beard and mustache, but the executive officer gets to, just because of her gender? He thanked me for my service and I left.

  10. #10
    Ice queen Lorileah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redwriter View Post
    Originally Posted by TxCassie View Post
    I believe there was a army (I think) TGal a few years ago that was denied top level security clearance due to his SRS. As a he, had been a top level infantry officer, I believe, might had been a ranger. I wish I could remember her name. You might be able to strumble across the person if you google it. military, transgender, etc... Wish I could be a more help.
    Thank you for this! I did a google search and couldn't find this person, but I'll keep digging..
    you won't find it. It would not be public to start with and as you have already stated DADT does not cover the "T". They would have been discharged from the Army or any branch of service. So if it was true (which is doubtful) they are no longer in the service and the records would not be public anyway (unless the T made a public display somehow...like suing)

    Yes, my understanding is that blackmail could be the problem. If loved ones/colleagues do not know the person up for the top secret security clearance is a cross dresser, it could be used against them.
    So could a million other things, even just the fact you have a family could be used against you (who wouldn't turn if their family was threatened??) And why would you even consider a top secret clearance if you suspected that something in your life would flag you? Really?
    Ideally, nobody cares as long as your cross dressing doesn't affect your ability to do your job, but you never know. This is my understanding, from what I've heard/read.
    I think you have it right. Ideally a lot of things would be but aren't (try and get married if you are gay in 70% of the states) Your article cited would confirm that.

    There are people who have transitioned in high government positions. These would usually be civilian jobs and the T would have been "out" and known. (see Amanda Simpson). I don't know what kind of clearance you need to be an underling to a cabinet post. Obama has appointed at least 100 LGBT people to positions. The military hierarchy is a bastion of closed minded and old school people who still believe folklore that has passed on for generations. It took until this year to "officially" allow women in combat roles. I have to admit though that allowing T people to openly serve could be a can of worms if they are fluid. TSs who are transitioning or have transitioned should be treated as the gender they are.
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    Junior Member Rachel Schaedel's Avatar
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    I was in the Marine Corps and held a Top Secret-SCI clearance. The investigation is rather extensive. It actually allowed me to reconnect with an old friend from the neighborhood I grew up in. I was in a state of suppression at the time(1989-1999) so it wasn't so much of an issue. Although after I left that billet, and moved on to the next, my cd'ing did manifest itself in a big way. I was just super careful about it. Not a great way to live and has caused some personal issues. I would love to see this project turn into something major. Could shed some light on the inequality of treatment.
    Why is it everyone expects us to explain to them who we are? Isn't it enough of a privilege for them to have us in the world?

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    Aspiring Overlord Bree Wagner's Avatar
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    Unless your CDing leads to other behaviors that would cause you to be a threat to national security there is no reason why you'd be denied a clearance. Clearances are about your supposed trustworthiness, not lifestyle.

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    Aspiring Member Genny B's Avatar
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    I have been told the VA deals with the TG community heavily, but don't know for sure. Still have my clearance and still in the closet!

  14. #14
    Aspiring Member Sabrina133's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genny B View Post
    I have been told the VA deals with the TG community heavily, but don't know for sure. Still have my clearance and still in the closet!
    Genny, you are correct - the VA does provide treatment - therapist and Endo as well as medication (hormones). It does not provide SRS.

    While Don't ask don't tell prevented security agents from asking specifically if you were gay, they did ask "is there anything in your background that would lead to you being blackmailed?" Certainly, being a closeted gay, TS or TG individual could lead an investigator to that conclusion. I know when i was asked i answered "no" and left it at that. As part of the investigation, they also ask your friends, neighbors and anyone else you put on your contacts list on the applications for the clearance. Obviously, you wouldn't put anyone on there that could inadvertently out you. You have to understand that to be an officer, you must have, at a minimum, a secret clearance. Even after it was granted, having it suspended or revoked was a relatively easy administrative step. All the commander has to do is state that he has lost confidence in your ability to keep secrets and its done...and so are you. I remember a story in which a relatively high ranking officer who was a CD was stopped by the police for some alleged crime - unfortunately, he was dressed at the time. Although eventually charges were dropped, he made what is called the "blotter" and it stated that he was dressed in feminine clothing. Although he wasn't charged with anything, the local law enforcement agency provided his name to the Army. His clearance was revoked which meant that he no longer had access to doucments that were neccesary for him to do his job. He was shuffled off to a purely admininstrative function. He failed to make the next promotion and had to leave the Army.

    Redwriter - While i undersand what your film is about, I certainly dont understand what a security clearance has to do with it unless its something like the vignette i described in the previous paragraph. As someone said earlier, there are plenty of instances when civilian serving in the government who were gay, TSs and TGs were granted security clearances e.g Pete Williams. If you remember, Pete Wiliams was SECDEF Chaney's press secretary during DS/DS, and of course today there is Janet Napolitano. There are a number of COngressmen who are gay and have clearances - Barney Franks. So, being gay is no cause for automatic exclusion.

    I have a friend who is stationed at a nearby military post. He was one of my subordinates when i was in the Army and served with me in OIF. I'd always suspected he was gay but never imagined he was a drag queen as well. We reconnected after I resigned and he was assinged at Fort Riley as a tank commander. Thats when i found out he does drag here in Kansas CIty on weekends. Since the revokatioin of DADT, he's come out as gay, his chain of command knows he does drag and it hasnt been a problem.

    In my view, after DADT was invoked, the security clearance questionnaire and investigation was a stealth way of trying to root out gays in the military - especially officers.

    if you want a bit more in depth detail of what its like to serve in the miltary and be a CD, PM me, i'll share.

    Bree
    Last edited by Sabrina133; 06-01-2013 at 11:12 AM.

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    Silver Member RenneB's Avatar
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    I did my three with a CTSA clearance but kept Renne in the closet for the entire time... I didn't want to lose the cushy job for an infantry position. That background investigation is (even in the late 70's) is extensive.. I heard they went back to my elementary school to verify I went there. Dang that's deep.

    Anyway managed to keep the CTSA and in the NRAS/PRP program even with a few non-regulation activities but never showed or told anyone of Renne...

    Renne.....

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    Aspiring Member Sabrina133's Avatar
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    Yeah, its all a matter of keeping the two very separate and being very careful.

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    Gold Member Alice Torn's Avatar
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    The VA in Madison Wis, has a fellow who holds group meetings for TG vets. I hope to attend some day, but it is a lot of gasoline, and wear on my ailing old car.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorileah View Post
    I have to admit though that allowing T people to openly serve could be a can of worms if they are fluid. TSs who are transitioning or have transitioned should be treated as the gender they are.
    Not that I would know, being non-military, but I agree.. My friend who is a retired Army Infantry officer is very involved with the VA, and while the VA has become much more accepting, he said that the military doesn't know what to do with the issue, from what he knows.

  19. #19
    Aspiring Member Sabrina133's Avatar
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    Yes, and to make it even more confusing, the military is about to lift the combat exclusion clause thus allowing females to serve in traditionally bared branches - armor, infantry, Special Forces. So, if that is the case, what could possibly prevent a Soldier who is serving in the infantry (so he's proven he can perform in that role) and desires to become a woman from transitioning and continue to serve? Frankly, there isn't. I think the transgender question will have to be to be looked at sooner rather than later.

  20. #20
    Cougar in hiding kymmieLorain's Avatar
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    One of the local tri ess members works at a place that required him to get a top secret clearance and he had to come out as his female name was an alias. She spoke at a local comunity collage about 8 years ago.

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