It felt like the pinnacle of his career, working the graveyard shift in a windowless plywood facility in Afghanistan, monitoring a Special Operations mission as it unfolded in real time on grainy video feeds.
After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars training Landon Wilson to intercept communications, the U.S. military was capitalising on its investment in the young sailor, already regarded as a rising star in a critical, highly technical field.
But shortly after 2 a.m. on Dec. 7, when a superior tapped him on the back and summoned him outside, one of the secrets that mattered most to Wilson began to unravel.
“This Navy record says female, but this paper says male,” the grim-faced sergeant major noted, displaying two sets of personnel records. “So, what are you?”
After an awkward pause, Wilson, who joined the Navy as a woman but who has long felt like a man, provided the answer that set in motion the end of his military career: “I am male.”
More than two years after the repeal of the law that barred gay men and lesbians from serving in the military openly, transgender service members can still be dismissed from the force without question, the result of a decades-old policy that dates back to an era when gender nonconformity was widely seen as a mental illness.
The policy, however, is now coming under scrutiny as service members like Wilson become more visible.
Read the full article, which has an in-depth description of Wilson’s background in the military.