By Michael Chen, KGTV
(KGTV) – It's a first in the history of the military, as the Pentagon officially recognized a local Navy veteran's change of gender.
Born a male, Autumn Sandeen said as a teen, she identified as a female.
She joined the Navy, lived as male and kept her secret for two decades before retiring.
"If I would have been myself, I would have been kicked out," said Sandeen.
According to military guidelines, gender identity issues are a mental disorder and detrimental to good order and discipline.
In 2011, as the ban on gays and lesbians was lifted, the transgender ban remained.
"The best way to explain it is I felt like a bridesmaid, never a bride," said Sandeen.
Twenty months later, a step down the aisle toward acceptance.
"I felt tremendous, like I accomplished something, not just himself, but for the broader transgender community," said Sandeen.
It's a process that began in 2011. She appealed to the VA, then the Pentagon. It ended with the Pentagon granting her an official change of gender on all military documents.
She submitted a mountain of paperwork, including a revised birth certificate.
It's the first documented case of a gender change in the military.
"They're acknowledging that transgender people exist and not completely off their rockers," Sandeen told 10News.
Sandeen said the recognition of a veteran's gender change forces the question: why shouldn't an active service member be able to change as well?
One thing suddenly helping her cause: as of mid-May 2013, psychiatric manuals no longer classify gender identity issues as a mental disorder.
"I feel like we should able to serve openly because we are physically able to serve openly. It's not a disorder," said Sandeen.
Sandeen hopes the U.S. will join seven other countries in allowing transgender troops.
There is no word from the Pentagon on whether the change in the psychiatric manuals could prompt a change in policy.
Click here for a previous story featuring Sandeen. (Mobile users: http://bit.ly/TaDGOD)
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Im a gay transgender. I live as a women. Way to that takes courge. Now i can fell accepted by my fellow man being a woma
I stand proudly next you and Autumn as we celebrate her win towards equality for all!
A muliracial family is one thing (cute commercial btw;-) but the transgender issue is quite another ! That's where people are always pushing the boundaries, pushing their odd views into the faces of others and demanding to be respected for them. Not 'gonna happen Sandeen...you may have won your legal issue to have your gender changed on paperwork, but inside, you are still a man. Born a man, will die a man. Are you listening Chaz Bono ??
Nanook, What inside of you makes you so insecure that you fear people who are different? Perhaps it is because somehow you are actually different, but are so brainwashed that you suppress the truth. Be honest with yourself and you will be a happier (and friendlier) person......
Mike wrote: "Just keep it in your bedroom like all the rest of us." Like the rest of us? So how exactly are you limiting your gender to the bedroom? Because that is what transgender is about - gender. It goes waaay beyond the bedroom. Do you not have any sort of social life? Must be weird that no one knows your name is Mike and that you are a male except for those you share your bedroom with.
Here, here. Well said.
it takes a human being to let another human being feel protected in the same world we all share learn to understand one another it just takes effortless listening
If gender no longer depends on one's genitals, how does one "identify'" as one gender or the other?
Through social and legal recognition. With any other person, we don't need to look at their genitals to identify them as male or female. We go off physical and social cues.
Jen made a really good point.
nclaw441, of all the people you interact with in the general public, how many of their genitals do you actually examine?
Please cite your expertise showing why your statement should override the DSM-V.
Sandeen can live life as a woman. But the DNA can and never will be changed to show otherwise.
Exactly DNA doesn't lie, this guy is deeply disturbed.
And, is that a concern of yours? Perhaps you should examine your priorities. Some people fight for self-determination, respect, freedom. Others fight to incite hatred. What are you doing? What principles are driving your actions and mindset?
autonomy, consent, equality???
"... including a revised birth certificate." Thanks to help from a certain someone who sits in an oval office.
If you are referring to President Obama, your wrong. Try Governor Brown (1978), and the Governors of a dozen other states that signed legislation authorizing correcting birth certificates in the 70s.
"Correcting" birth certificates is humorous to me. He was born a male, is still a male - maybe a male who likes "dressing up", but still a male - and changing a piece of paper isn't going to change that.
Oops. We made a "clerical" error. Someone misidentified an innie as an outie. Here. Let us correct the paperwork.
Klinger did it first back in Korea.....
I figure if a male wants to pretend its a female, put a wig, a skirt and pumps on and paint its face up a lil bit to hide its hideousness as best it can!!!
Or as you call it Friday Night
I agree with Jasmine. Whether a person chooses to mutilate themselves or not, whatever gender they was born as will always remain. Personally, i dont understand self mutilation like what that male did to itself!!!
What the real problem is standard gender roles. Humans are individuals not gender widgets to be molded into a social pattern.
Genetics and/or gender can not be changed .... the DNA is still MALE, therefore even if the outside changed, you are still the gender you were born as.
Percent of gays: Marines,Army,Air Force all 1%. .Navy 57%.
If the gender change was done prior to joining the military, then she should have enlisted as a female. If this change occurred after military service was completed, then records should not be changed. If in this case she was born a male, and served as a male, then the records should reflect that, and she just cost the USA more money we don't have to serve personal needs.
Why shouldn't the records change? She is currently female - so the VA should treat her as such - particularly with regard to medical coverage... although I am not really sure what sort of health problems a transgendered person tends to face - since their biology is quite different from a natural-born female.
The VA isn't there to be your primary caregiver. The VA is there to assist in meeting their applicable contractual obligations (such as the GI Bill) and to provide medical care for conditions that are directly related to a veteran's military service. This lady's gender change did not occur during service, nor is the military directly responsible for it. As such, the VA shouldn't cover any medical issues arising from it, as it is not the VA's purpose to handle ALL medical needs. Whether or not Tricare (the health insurance provider for military personnel and retirees) should cover these needs is a different matter altogether (I tend to believe Tricare should).
The records shouldn't change because "she" is still male. Your quote is awesome - is shows a fundamental lack of introspection:
She is currently female – so the VA should treat her as such ... since their biology is quite different from a natural-born female.
"Her" biology is "quite different" because "she" is not female, she's male. Treating "her" as female is to avoid the elephant: "she" is not.
If you are above 50% overall disability, it is the VA's responsibility to be your primary care provider. Stop spouting off about things you only read about and presume to be an expert about.
I don't doubt his/her mental competence, but the problem wih active duty transgendered folk is that hormones don't change everything. A man's bone density will always be stronger than a female's even if he got gender reassignment surgery and did all the hormones, and vice versa. There is no such thing as a 100% physioligical conversion and that alone creates problems for the military as far as fitness testing, medical issues, flight phyiscals, etc go, not so much the 'mental disorder' thing.
And how is transgenders issues NOT a mental disorder? I am fully aware that being gay and having a gender assignment disorder are hardwired, but they are technically disorders. I am all for gay marriage, but to say that being gay is biologically normal is downright ignorant. Sorry, but science doesn't lie.
While not entirely conclusive, the weight of scientific evidence indicates that being gay is at least partially based in genetics.
Technically, you're totally wrong. Being gay is not considered a mental disorder. Also the difference in physical standards is only important in the Infantry. Most men in the military are paper-pushers, and there's nothing they do that women can't.
Being gay isn't considered a mental disorder anymore either. You don't have to agree with that decision by the medical community but at least be aware that is where science is at right now.
It's always irritating how absolute morons without even a basic knowledge of medicine or psychiatry presume to judge me for my medical condition. I hope I get to comment on your medical treatments at some point, too. I think a few of you need brain transplants.
Ignore the idiots, I've always said if God made 10,000 kinds of butterflies she had to have made more than 2 kinds of peopl/.
One of the health insurance plans I had would not pay for my CA-15 (cancer antigen-15) test on a quartery basis after I had surgery for breast cancer. I had to pay for the test myself until Nov when I changed to a different plan. I am not against gender reassignment, I just don't think that taxpayers via the VA should pay for it. The need for transgender reassignemt was not caused by military service but long predated that.
They should have posted before and after photos. I just bet he or she looked a whole lot better as a male rather than a female !
This of course is really nothing new. Wasn't it Christine Jorgenson from the 1950's ?
This is priceless......the damage caused by the progressive's will be un-paralleled. Soon the military will have to pay for active duty personel who want this...amongst other things. And if you don't go along with it....some "educated" elite will dismiss you as they "advance" civilization...hahahahahaha.....what a world this is now.....hahahahaha
Gross. I'm so tired of the LGBT agenda on the front page of CNN, NPR, and every other media outlet these days. Just keep it in your bedroom like all the rest of us. Our country's got better things to worry about.
Where is it defined that this is a LGBT agenda/issue other than in your own head?
The "T" part of LGBT makes is an LGBT issue.
The fact that you can't drive to work without NPR doing some story on LGBT, and the fact that you can't open cnn.com without seeing a story on this stuff, makes it an agenda.
Just out of curiosity, you ARE aware that the "T" in LGBT stands for "Transgender," right?
Why don't we call it what it is, a birth defect? A brain born in the wrong body.
Congratulations, Autumn Sandeen. I am an transguy and I am honored to hear this. I do not have any mental disorder and I am perfectly healthy. A piece of paper will not classify who I am or what they believe is wrong with me. I live an awesome life and everybody deserves so much awesomeness as well. I create a world of happiness and acceptance by being honorable, capable and true to myself.
As do you.
Yep concur with your analysis...it's some type of deep psychosis
You guys are mean.
Good for you Zackary. The mean people replying to you have more issues than they "imagine" you have. You're fine, their problem is they don't understand the courage it takes to just be yourself. I'm gay, and I deeply regret the years I wasted because of fear.
This article would have readers believe that the military continues to live in the stone age by classifying gender dysphoria as a mental disorder. The reality is, it's classified that way by the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", too.
Actually, Jack... it's not. It is called "Gender Dysphoria" and it is most definitely NOT classified as a mental disorder in the DSM-5, which is the current edition and the only one that applies.
Jack your information is incorrect. It is no longer in the DSM5 which was recently released. Please give correct infromation before you speak. I work with Transgender clients.
Congratulations! This is a great step towards tolerance, acceptance and understanding.
Its common for a lot of those whom are transgender to go thru a Ultra-Manly phase, made seek out military service. There are many Transgender Vets, most would still willingly serve.
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