Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…
- It’s amazing to hear from each country almost the exact same thing when we speak. In US military, we find that opposition (though dwindling), constantly says “I don’t know how you could allow transgender people to serve in the military.” Every forum leader, every policy maker who spoke yesterday said instead: “I don’t know how you could not allow transgender people to serve in the military."
- I spoke in detail to an Israeli soldier. When I asked him if he was accepted in his position as an Officer, he grinned and said "It would be unacceptable for me to not be accepted.” While in the IDF, service is mandatory, transgender people do have the option to deny enlistment or commission. For him, he said, there was no option. He enjoys serving - but mostly he enjoys being himself.
- I was one of only four transgender men in the room. Only one other spoke. I have various thoughts about this, the main one being absolutely thrilled about it. In our American society, and I’m sure in most others, we too often see transwomen as the side of the spectrum receiving the most criticism. It was not lost on me that the countries allowing open transgender service only brought transwomen to speak. And they all spoke of their acceptance and their success with their units, about the overall ease the changes were made in their militaries.
- A Swedish officer shut down the entire conference with this conversation. Moderator: A lot of people still have reservations and concerns about the whole ‘shower situation.' Officer: I really think that if this is something that people are still using as an argument, they’ve run out of logical and valid things for their fight.
- I left with even more optimism about inclusion than usual.
When she goes into work, people salute her. They address her as Captain, or ma'am.
It hasn’t always been that way, though.
When she came out to her chain of command, she was immediately asked to provide a timeline for her transition. They discussed uniform changes. Berthing accommodations. Fitness standards.
What they didn’t discuss was the possibility of her discharge from their military.
Today, I met with a Captain in the British Army. She is an electrical engineer and oversees over 120 soldiers. She also happens to be one of the lead go-to people for the Army’s transgender soldiers. I sat for over three hours and listened to her tell her experience. She told me about how there was certainly an initial period of confusion, but today, she is respected. Supported. Accepted. Appreciated.
She is a highly qualified and needed member of the British Army, and she says, “I can do my job, and that’s what the Army recognizes. I’m a soldier first, and my mission and my purpose in the Army will always come first, to me and to them. The fact that I’m transgender, well, most days, it just doesn’t matter.”
When she was asked what the best part about the UK’s policy on allowing open transgender service was, there was a coy grin. “The fact that the policy just allows me to be a soldier.”
After a laugh and another grin, she answers in full. “The British Army allows me to just be a soldier. It doesn’t label me as being trans.”
The time when America’s service members will have the same treatment…well, I think we can all say it’s closer than we expected. And I can’t wait for the day.
Prof Roberts has now shared the footage from the dive exclusively with the BBC.
He and his team used a remotely operated submersible vehicle to explore and film the aquatic mountain slopes.
“These are vast structures in the ocean,” Prof Roberts explained to the BBC.
“They’re exciting because they grow up through the ocean and have steep sloping sides. [When] the currents hit the sides of the seamount and they stir up nutrients, they become really productive areas.”
Prof Roberts and his colleagues watched from a ship-based laboratory while their rover explored the depths.
Since 1973, units of the Netherlands Marine Corps have formed part of the British 3 Commando Brigade during exercises and real conflict situations. Also, the 7th SBS NL troop will be placed under UK operational command as part of C Squadron, UK Special Boat Service. Together, these form the UK/NL Landing Force.