Familial & Military Progress

Like most people, I have had trouble dealing with the pandemic, the uncertainty of employment and with our political climate.  So it’s no wonder that most of my latest writings are darker in nature than they typically would be. It stands to reason that my posts from a year ago are so much more upbeat and hopeful. The issues tied to my being transgender has a very small part in this but isn’t the primary cause of my troubles. It’s just a sign of the times in which we are all currently living and from the things in my life that I have survived but never dealt with emotionally. I hope that everyone is dealing well with the things I feel as if I am stumbling over. It’s getting better, one step at a time, one breath at a time, one minute, hour, day at a time. Trans or cis, we are in this together and we should be able to lean on one another, albeit a socially distanced leaning. If you ever need to have a conversation or just an ear to listen, you can always talk to me at Elizabeth@bethoverthinksit.com

My wife’s extended family have had no idea that she is married to another woman. So, when she talks with her Nana or cousins, she does not bring me up in conversation or talk much at all about us as a couple. It’s been a bit painful that I must be a secret because they would not understand or be able to come to terms with me being a woman or understand what “trans” is. A few weeks ago, however, things progressed a bit. Michelle’s cousin, the one she is closest to, asked her if something had “changed” in her life. This is when Michelle told her about me. I didn’t listen to the conversation, Michelle told me after she got off the phone. Apparently, she is happy for me being able to be myself, which is a good thing. Her family is largely conservative and not LGBTQ friendly from what I understand. So that her cousin was so accepting, I find it a good sign. I also feel better that I’m not some huge secret from an entire side of her family. I didn’t come out so that I could continue being hidden as if who I am is something wrong. She hasn’t and likely won’t tell her Nana, which I understand because she is of an advanced age and has cognitive issues which would limit her ability to comprehend what she is saying. I wouldn’t want to be a stress on her Nana. 

Despite her cousin’s positive response, if Michelle went to Jersey to visit family after the pandemic, she isn’t likely to include me in the trip. It sucks and it’s upsetting. I would go, but I’m pretty sure Michelle wouldn’t want me to come so as to avoid confrontation with her family. I would deal with it like I did during Thanksgiving last year, when we met my sister-in-laws boyfriend’s family. I would just be myself, unapologetic and oddly talkative. I think that even if people might not like who I am, they will respond to an engaging conversation. I could be wrong, I don’t know them. I would like the chance to try though, not just be left behind as if I don’t exist. Something else, it’s easy to get fixated on how we, as trans people, feel about these things. However, it’s not just about us. Understand that Michelle isn’t just telling them about me, she is actually coming out to her extended family. They have always believed she is heterosexual, and she is having to explain to them that she is married to another woman. I understand her reluctance to bring me up in conversation, as it’s not a simple “my spouse is a woman” statement.

I heard from the AFBCMR, which is the Pentagon Board reviewing my DD-214 name change request. For those who don’t know, the DD-214 is a certificate of release or discharge from active military duty. Basically, it’s needed for applying to some government positions and as proof I am a veteran. If I didn’t get it changed, I have to out myself over and over for every job interview or application. My job is not my life, I have no desire to out myself to people if I don’t have to, also the bigotry is enough to not only get me passed over but I could end up ostracized from an entire industry. Anyway, I heard from them twenty-four days after I sent an email asking for an update. Here is the content:

We requested but have not yet received the Military Human Resources Record (MHRR). 

Due to a number of unpredictable variables as well as a fluctuating workload, we cannot predict when a particular case will be reviewed by the Board and or decided.  However, applicants  should know that in accordance with our governing statute (10 USC 1552) the AFBCMR must adjudicate 90% of its cases within the 10 months but may take up to 18 months to render a decision in any single case. 

We can assure you that the Board will process each request as quickly as possible and give it full and fair consideration.  Once the Board makes their decision, we will mail a copy of the decision to your address of record..

They are backlogged and the pandemic isn’t helping, I get that. I am hopeful that this is a good sign since they haven’t dismissed it outright. 

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