US: Sailor discharged from Navy for being transgender

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A transgender sailor says he was discharged from the US Navy last year because of his gender identity.

Landon Wilson, a cryptologic technician who served in Afghanistan, told the Washington Post he was discharged in December, after officers discovered he was transgender.

Three years ago the US repealed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, which forbade openly gay and lesbian service people, but a policy which states transgender people are ineligible for service is still in effect.

Wilson did not openly declare his trans status, fearing he would not be allowed to serve, and lived in male barracks on deployment to Afghanistan.

He was only discovered after his superior officers tried to arrange for a promotion, only to discover records used female pronouns to refer to him.

He said: “My Afghanistan leadership was like, ‘I have no idea who you are talking about’

“We don’t have a female with that last name. I think you have the wrong shop.”

After he disclosed that he had transitioned to male, he says commanders decided to send him home, and within hours he was on a flight out of the base.

He said: “I remember this deep sense of panic, knowing that everything was about to change.

“My main concern was not ‘I could potentially be losing my career’, but ‘what about the guys on the ground’.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone, I have no idea what they told people.

“They very much gave me the option of you can transition, or you can serve.”

Upon being given a choice between either serve as female or be discharged, Landon opted to be discharged.

Last month, former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders co-authored a report, which claims: “removal of the military’s blanket ban on transgender service members would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the federal government’s commitment to reducing disparities in health care access for transgender people.”

Defence Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson told the paper she does not know how many trans service members have been discharged, but that the Pentagon has ‘no plans’ to change its medical qualification standards.