WSW: A Veteran, Now Transgender, Reflects On "New Territory" For Military

Aug 3, 2017

Protesters listen to speakers at a demonstration against a proposed ban of transgendered people in the military in the Castro District, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in San Francisco.
Credit Olga R. Rodriguez / The Associated Press

Dyrk Hamilton says if transgender people had been allowed to serve openly while he was in the Air Force and Air National Guard it wouldn’t have changed how he carried out his duties, but he would have enjoyed life more.

Hamilton served in the Air Force and more than 10 years later the Air National Guard. In 2007 he left the Air National Guard. In 2013 he started the process of gender transitioning to male. Hamilton discussed the military’s policy regarding transgender people with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.

President Trump recently tweeted that he was banning transgender people from serving in the military after consulting with generals. Hamilton says he had concerns about people serving while gender dysphoria, a type of depression that some transgender people experience.

Hamilton says transgender people serving in the military is still “new territory.” But he says a Rand Corporation report released last year shows that permitting transgender people to be open about who they are alleviates dysphoria and emotional issues.

Hamilton says he “probably” served with transgender people while he was in the Air Force, but didn’t know it at the time. Hamilton was asked about the hypothetical idea of revealing his gender identity at the time he served. He says when he thinks about “the personalities and characters” and “some of the wonderful supervisors and commanding officers” combined with his personality, Hamilton says “it would have gone well.”