Rally supports transgender community

Event takes place in protest of Trump's military position

Heidi Hess with One Colorado, along with other groups, rallies Friday on the steps of the federal building in protest of President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. About 100 people were at the event.

A group of about 100 Grand Valley residents gathered in the rain on the steps of the Wayne N. Aspinall federal building in Grand Junction Thursday evening, to show their support of the LGBTQ community and their anger at President Donald Trump’s recent tweet disallowing the service of transgender people in the military.

“I think the rain is kind of apropos for how we feel today,” said Grand Junction City Councilor Chris Kennedy, explaining that the LGBTQ community — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer —  and its supporters feel gloomy that their government representatives aren’t listening to them.

The crowd — diverse in age, race and gender — stood quietly under colorful umbrellas, some holding up American flags or signs either calling for LGBTQ justice or attacking President Trump.

Kennedy rehashed Trump’s tweet and the hubbub that followed, then read the military code of conduct, which ends with, “I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”

“Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see United States officials live by that same code?” Kennedy said.

Kennedy was the second of five people who spoke at the rally. Other speakers included the mother of a transgender son, a woman who started one of the first LGBTQ support groups in Mesa County, and a reverend from the First Congregational United Church of Christ.

They spoke to how LGBTQ justice intersects with family, friends, God and patriotism.

The reverend, Jeffrey Dodson, read from the Declaration of Independence and told the crowd, “You matter!” He offered advice to his audience about actions they can take at work, church or school to make those environments more inclusive.

One member of the crowd was Jennifer Miller, 57, who will begin a professorship at Colorado Mesa University this fall, teaching psychology and LGBT studies.

When asked why she attended the rally, Miller said she was “shocked and horrified by what Trump said,” and, “It can’t be left to stand.”

Another attendee was Gina Lineal Mangruem, a local seamstress and entertainer who’s transgender. Mangruem said she has been busy and wasn’t going to go to the rally, but her husband talked her into attending.

“Being trans in Grand Junction, it’s important to show up,” Mangruem said. She added that she would have liked to see more of a turnout at the event.

“If we could weather the storm, so could they,” Mangruem said of the no-shows.

The event was organized by Heidi Hess from the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado. Hess said “people are outraged by that tweet from the president.”

She put the rally together as a reaction to the tweet to show, “This is not OK — not in my country and not in my town.”


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Thank you to the Sentinel for covering this event!

What is “transgender/”  Human identification is complicated at all levels.  Those born and identify with their external organs, have the open path in society.  Scientifically, we know so little about neuro-chemistry and how those chemicals and cells interact with the rest of the bodies’ hormones.  It is a wonder there are not more humans born with “confused” sexual identities.  People who vilify those that are born with a convoluted sexual path, should walk in their shoes.  These victims of our socially strict linear view of male-female existence are a “perfect” creation as they are.  As I have said before, is there any earthly human righteous enough to pass judgement on God’s creations?  And if one of these dear souls choose to go into the military, are they not as honorable as their fellow warriors?  Ask a Veteran if it mattered if they were serving with a a transgender who was watching their back in a firefight.

I might have captioned this photo, “the collective wisdom of a group of folks who have never served.”  Interesting how non-military types are the first to try and dictate how the military should go about its business, that of “breaking things and killing people.” Do any of these people possess a DD-214?  Do they even know what a DD-214 is?  Why were no veterans asked about their opinion?  Probably because they weren’t there.

And I’m puzzled how liberals/Democrats are the first to take away Second Amendment privileges of people with what the would say have “mental illness”.  I believe that transgenderism (gender dysphoria) is still a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and that trans-folks statistically have significantly higher rates of suicide than straights, gays or lesbians.

Solution?  Don’t call yourself transgender at the recruiting station, or at MEPS.  But also, don’t enlist expecting to: use the opposite gender’s shower and bathroom; expect the military to pay for your re-assignment surgery, that will put you out of commission for about 8-9 months, cost about $130,000, and require hormone therapy throughout the rest of your life, or be given a REMF assignment, requiring someone (male or female) to face the rigors or combat in your place, because you can’t be deployed.

Many gay and lesbian troops have served with honor and distinction.  However, they do not require the things that are a detriment to a military that needs to go anywhere, anytime to do their job, or “other duties as assigned” as trans-soldiers would.

And yes, Ms. Phillips - As a veteran, it would matter to me, and I would pass judgment if they failed to perform as required.

Mr. Wall, there were several Veterans there, all Honorably discharged and transgender of an elderly age.  I worked in the VA for 10 years total and never saw one Vet turn another away from their hospital door for any reason, even if the Vets were from a different “war” periods.  I served as an non-enlisted non-combatant in the first Gulf War through the Ras Tanura clinic, less then 100 miles south of Kuwait.  My husband, a chemical engineer, was instrumental in the production of jet fuel via ARAMCO.  I was the only RN with ACLS and ER experience so stayed to help set up a HazMat unit. This long before the troops arrived and we were vulnerable. So stop pointing your self righteous finger at this rally.  I would not have wanted a judgmental-you watching my back in the Gulf War or even now.  You profess the 2nd Amendment as your guide to the Constitution? HA!  This rally had and has to do with THE BASIC HUMAN RIGHT of our constitution…the right to be an American citizen in totality.  You need more education…Transgender soldiers have been serving for in the US and other country services for decades and may have been one of your best buds.  Yet nary a hint of an issue with their service. If I were in a direct firefight,  I don’t think I would want your bigoted body watching my back.  I love our Veterans, ALL of them, as they are the ONLY reason you can write freely about your lack of knowledge and awareness.  Should you wish to discuss your deficit, I would be willing to do so on a science-based interaction…not on an emotionally ignorant phallic insecure basis.  P.S. I love guns and pack legally. Also, if you have a DD214, thank you for your stateside service.

Thank you for your response, although it failed to address any of the issues and suggestions that I raised, but chose to make an ad hominem statement.

1.  Your elderly transgendered persons that served, did so without any expectation that the DoD/VA would provide special accommodations for their special circumstances.  The military has a policy of non-acceptance to entry for persons with flat feet, hypertension, obesity, blindness and deafness, mental illness and other pre-existing conditions, and the lack of a formal education or citizenship status in some cases.  No one is questioning the right of transgendered persons to live a life like any other American.  I provided a solution for transgendered persons to enter the military, do their service honorably and should be able to receive the benefits given to ALL military personnel.

2.  Never did I say that the DoD/VA would turn them away for medical issues they had. The DoD/VA should not bear the costs for elective/cosmetic surgery for gender re-assignment.  If that is a pre-existing condition, let them bear the costs after serving. No one asks the DoD/VA for cosmetic breast/penile augmentation, liposuction, do they?

3.  All you’ve told me is that you and your husband were non-combatants, not asked to risk your lives and safety.  As such, you would have been evacuated when the actual threat level reached a particular point, far below the threshold of any real danger.

4.  Had I served with transgendered personnel, it would have been a surprise, although not a shock.  I served with many gay and lesbian soldiers, even before “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.  Not once was I ever bothered by it.  They served honorably and with distinction, and Iknew that they trusted me as much as I trusted them to work as a team.  I can say this as a fact, not your conjecture.

5.  So you pack? Good for you.  I’m just curious as to whether that’s a statement of political persuasion, or a veiled threat.  You might want to clarify that.  Your deities, Feinstein, Pelosi, et al., are quick to restrict the gun rights of others, but feel they themselves are more than qualified to carry a pistol.  Did you know that both Feinstein and Pelosi have made it abundantly clear that those who are considered “mental defectives” should not only be unable to protect themselves, but should have their gun rights stripped from them.  Being in the medical field, I’m sure you’re familiar with the DSM, and the implications of misdiagnoses.

7.  With regard to what you call “stateside service” in the 10 years I served, half of that was overseas, so, I’d appreciate it if you thanked me more for that, than my CONUS service.

Mr. Wall,  Thank you for your service.
You are absolutely correct.  It is not the responsibility of the military to provide elective surgery to enlistees.

This article by a man who lived as a transgender person for several years tells the story from the “inside”. 

These issues always brings out the bully people that think they are entitled to enforce their idea of normalcy.  Transgenderism exists, they do so because this is normal.

Since you knew and served with soldiers of various sexes and persuasions, why then would you not now support the right of ALL troops that are actively serving, to make sure they too receive all the rights and consideration of Veteran.  None of the transgender Veterans I have met left the service to walk immediately into a surgical suite.  For just ONE MOMENT, put yourself in their shoes…That decision to alter…FOREVER…your body, is not taken just because they can.

Your arrogance is boundless sir.  We were in Saudi for the first shots.  There was no army or marines or air force to protect us for over a week. We were under fire by scuds on a daily basis. ARAMCO evacuated families including my children. Since my husband was the prime blender of fuel, he could not leave or the multi-national air forces that were on their way, would not be flying.  I had to stay to help my fellow multi-national RN (all male) set up a HazMat unit.  I have lived in war. Not something I relished but helped me take better care of Veterans.

History has always been on the side of openness and acceptance.  I will stay with that and feel sorry you can never have the joy of knowing that each person is a unique joy.

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