Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Day in DC for Kim

*A quick aside*
Things in my life took a major turn for the worse.  I won't discuss it, as it was family related, but I WILL say that I appreciate everyone's messages on FB and otherwise.  A Special thank you to Prof. Jennifer Finney Boylan who took time out of her busy schedule to call me offering sage advice.

Thank you all!


On the morning of Wednesday July 13, 2016, I woke early, showered, troweled on makeup, and jumped in the car.  My roomie and bestie Linda Lewis and I were headed South to Washington DC.  Destination: Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.  We were going to hear my dear friend Major Kimberly Moore, USMC (ret) speak at a symposium on Transgender in the Military.

After a few wrong turns, Linda and I finally arrived.  We had a very over-priced lunch, then met Kim at the bar.  She was gorgeous at always, and, as always, fussing and primping neurotically.  (Remember Kim- you ASKED me to write this!)

After a bit, she went to change into her new Dress Blues- the female version.  She looked amazing!

Linda, Maj. Moore, Fat chick

We then went to the room, with Linda and I carrying all of the Major's gear.  Seriously.

She knew EVERYBODY.  And she even introduced me to many of them.  Linda? Everybody knows Linda.  *Internet Goddess*

Assigned Seats

Attending was Kristin Beck, Senior Chief USN Seals (ret).  I've met her several times, and she's always wonderful!  I expected her contribution to the cause of Transgender Service in the Military would be acknowledged, but it wasn't.  She does SO MUCH for us!  I was disappointed.

I also was introduced to Paula Neira (USN) who I heard of many times.  It was an absolute thrill to meet her!

With Paula

The room was filled with military brass:  Generals, Admirals, it seemed all ranks and branches of service were represented.  Even the British Army were represented by the wonderful Captain Hannah Winterbourne.

I could go on forever about all the wonderful people I met.  Instead, I'll just list them (in order of appearance):

Major Kimberly Moore, USMC (ret)

Captain Hannah Winterbourne, British Army

Major General Gale S. Pollock (US Army, ret)

Captain Sage Fox, US Army (photo by Michael Kay for the Washington Blade)

Peter Levine, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Nathaniel Frank, Ph.D.

Lt Colonel Victor Valenzuela, US Air Force (picture from Twitter)

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Rear Admiral Alan M. Steinman, MD, USPHS, USCG (ret)

Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Staff Sergeant A. Nazzal, US Army

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D- WA)

Linda pointed out to me that we were witnessing history, and she was right.

About 3/4 of the way through, Kim (who was sitting to my left in her assigned seat) excused herself.  After a couple of minutes, someone took her seat.  I whispered that it was "Major Moore's seat" and she whispered back that she would move.  I then recognized her: Dana Beyer!  After a few more minutes my right leg began cramping (as it has been the past few months) so I grabbed my writing notebook and told Dana that she could have my seat.  As I was leaving the row, I tripped over Nathaniel Franks' briefcase, thus making a fat fool of myself.  Within a minute, Kim returned.

(As it turns out, Dana and I have a mutual friend: my "Big Sister" Mel knows her quite well!)

I stood in the back among many people jotting down notes and taking pictures.  Behind me was a table with plastic cups and pitchers of water.  The guy next to me turned back to get some water and his elbow crashed right into my left boob.  OWWWW!  He apologized and we had a quiet laugh over it.

A Soldier taking furious notes

After Nancy Pelosi finished her part, she was being ushered out by her staff, but stopped in front of me, probably due to the bottleneck at the door.  I took my opportunity to say "Leader Pelosi, thank you for all you do!"  She smiled, thanked me, and shook my hand.  Then she was off.

Then it was over, and people broke into groups, chatting away.  I spoke to many people- introducing myself to some, being introduced by others.  One person was a veteran who was taking many pictures.  It turns out this veteran had JUST come out as transgender a few days before.  I posed for a few pictures with Linda and Kim by her.  So Hi Donna!  :)

Linda, Kim, Ms. Creosote (Pic by Donna Newgirl)

I suggested that we grab a drink before Linda and I got back on the road.  Kim agreed, and I also invited Paula Neira.  I also invited someone else I'd just met: Ashley Broadway-Mack.  She is the spouse of Lt. Col Heather Mack, and is a wonderful person!  So the four of us shared a drink in the Hyatt bar before Linda and I took our leave.  We walked the few blocks through the soupy summer air to the parking garage, and my car.

Of course, going home during rush hour took a LONG time.

However, we had one more stop to make.  Just inside the Pennsylvania/ Delaware border is one of the three McKenzies' locations.  This one is our (Linda an I) friend Val is now the manager.  We rarely get down that way, so we took the opportunity to stop and see her.

 With Val

We arrived back home at 10 PM.  We both had work the next morning.

This WAS a moment in history.  People like Kristin Beck and the others listed have been working hard for this for years.  Someday, being transgender may not be a big deal to American society (it wasn't for Native Americans) but I don't think it will be in my lifetime.  However, this was a MAJOR step toward that day.

I have three great regrets in my life:
1) Being born.
2) Being born trans.
3) Never serving in the military.

I have immense respect for those who DO serve, as do most Liberals (despite what the GOP says.)  We respect them enough that we don't want them sent off to die for a Lie or for profit, and that they deserve full benefits for serving.  (Again, unlike the GOP.)

Because of the work of these people, transpeople may now serve the United States openly, and with Honor if they wish.

Which is all they wanted to do in the first place.

Be well!

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