My name is Tomi Kay. I’d prefer to leave my dead name out since I still haven’t legally changed my name. I served in the US Army active duty from 2008-2015 as a weapons technician, ensuring all unit fire power was serviceable and in good order for use. Also handling all repairs. I reached the rank of Specialist/ E-4. I served with the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, KY, 1st Cavalry Division, and 3rd Cavalry Regiment both in Fort Hood, TX in that order. My first and only deployment in support of combat operations was to Ghazni Province, Afghanistan where I served bravely with my brothers and sisters in arms for 9 long months. During my 7 yrs on active duty, I earned 10 service medals, attended countless military schools, 1 skills badge, and was discharged honorably after choosing not to reenlist for a 3rd term.
I am also trans.
“I want to be able to serve as the authentic me, so the news I read from our Commander In Chief crushed me.”
I chose to join the military at 19 trying to find myself and make sure the trans feelings I felt since childhood were real and more than just a “phase.” I’m a native New Yorker and was in school 16 miles from the World Trade Center on 9/11. It pained me to watch that devestation from my English classroom window and I vowed to serve once I was old enough.
During my service, I confided in a person I trusted and they outed me to members of my unit. I was bullied and had to live hearing countless rumors being spread about me. I knew for sure after all the shaming and being in such a hyper masculine environment, I was transgender. So I decided to get out during the Summer of 2015 and openly explore my gender identity. I started coming out to family and friends in the Fall of 2016 and began transitioning through the VA healthcare system in January 2017.
So here I am today writing this, now 6 months into my transition, finally happy and very proud of my service. It helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today. The only thing that would make me happier is to be able to serve as the authentic me, so the news I read from our Commander In Chief crushed me. The military is the only job I know, serving among fellow patriots who love our country and our freedoms was the most fulfilling experience of my life and I would gladly do it all over again.
“Trump is simply adding to the transmisogyny.””
Trump is adding to the transmisogyny of assuming all trans people want to go through with surgery which is just not true and a matter of preference and how dysphoria affects the individual. Speaking for myself, I’m a trans woman who is choosing to not have surgery. So the medical cost talking point is bull. I’m currently prescribed Spironolactone as a testosterone blocker, which is primarily used as blood pressure medicine. I’m also on Estradiol patches, which is used to treat certain symptoms of menopause. Thats it. I don’t understand what tremendous medical cost Trump is referring to since I’m sure there are plenty of service members who use blood pressure medicine and estradiol.
One of the biggest reasons the US Military is one of the strongest fighting forces in the world is because of its status as an all volunteer force. The people who choose to risk it all and serve for the most part genuinely want to be there. We took pride putting that uniform day in and day out.
There was no better feeling than being an American Soldier and braving the unknown so we can keep those who want to harm our country at bay. It truly cuts deep knowing I was good enough to lay down my life for the USA but can no longer do so. I voted for Hilary and I’m still hoping for a president who will work to advance the rights and enrich the lives of people within our LGBTQ community.