Over the course of the last year, topics which may directly or indirectly effect our active and reserve military students have found the 24-hour news cycle. For those who have or currently serving in the military, basic benefits, especially medical are needed during and after their active or reserve service career. Medical and mental health services are continuously being cut for the most vulnerable. The basic care that had been promised to those who are willing to fight for our country and the freedoms bestowed are not being given what has been rightfully earned. The initial announcement in July 2017 banning transgender individuals to serve in the military caused great concern and extensive discussion on the topics of discrimination and the presumed “tremendous medical costs” of the procedures and the resulting “savings” which had been the primary tenet for the ban. The latest pronouncement in March of 2018 banning transgender military personnel to continue in their military careers or joining the service was met with the same fervor of discussion among military students. Discussions with military students had revealed that many know of or trained and worked besides military personnel who are transgender. The following poem is based on these discussions.


The person I’ve become.

The soul is the same,

My heart and mind,

Been trapped in a form

I cannot understand or find.


Physical appearance had to change

I selectively chose to reassign.

Acceptance from loving parents, nothing is strange,

Willingness to share and shout and realign.

Teachers, peers, and other soldiers embrace

My “newness”, the authentic me.

The world sees me as who I genuinely should be.


Yet the government has now banned our existence,

Not able to serve.

Military as a unit and family resolved in consistence

Fights for fairness and to preserve.

Our commanders demand unity and oneness,

Without a word or comment

Differences are not seen on the battlefield

Or arenas of engagement.


The outward appearance should not matter

Only our ability to serve and defend our country with passion

Liberty and free speech after all is what built our nation

Otherwise the country we love would be in tatters.


Our service was not for naught

How much should it cost to be who we truly are?

Money does not bring happiness as we were taught.

Are we to be assessed against an imaginary bar?

The value of the transition should not be measured

Or compared to that of a breast augmentation, nose job, or an elective procedure.

We should not be tethered.

The true cost of one’s happiness is the wholeness of self, a defined new leader

To follow one’s calling

Without interference from an oligarchy with no comprehension of our plight.

Instead, let us continue to serve this great country and fight.