Anyway to rejoin?

kaylac1232

Registered Member
#1
To preface this I will be talking about something that is a very heated social topic in today's society. Please be respectful even if you believe different. Thank you.

Hello to all who can assist me,

I was in the military from 2011-2015. During the summer of 2015 I was MEB for depression and subsequently put onto TDRL in Dec 2015. The military attributed my depression to being in the service and my deployment. Following my discharge I become more depressed as some of my personal things resurfaced from when I was a younger child. Around the end of 2016 I accepted that I was transgender and realized much of my anxiety and depression stemmed from this fact. In the middle of 2017, I was called to do a re-examination for the TDRL. I explained that my depression/anxiety mainly stemmed from the fact that I was trans, and most of my mental health issues had subsided and I was doing well in school. I also stated that I felt I could come back into the military. The examiner noted this fact on her paperwork, which ended up on the form given to the PEB and me. The examiner finished her paperwork by stating I was still unfit for military service and given discharge with severance. I didnt try to fight it as I didn't care at the time and the money was nice; however, I have had a change of heart. I am finishing up a nursing degree in the next few years and would really like to commission into the military and be a flight nurse working to heal military members hurt in the Middle East. At the time of the reexamination I know that transgender people were not allowed to serve in the military and I think that is why the examiner stated I was unfit for military service, as I told her I was fine mentally. Do I have any recourse here, now that trans people can serve? Is it like DADT was rescinded, and gay people who were discharged could reenlist? Is there a way I can change my discharge? Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you all.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#2
To preface this I will be talking about something that is a very heated social topic in today's society. Please be respectful even if you believe different. Thank you.
@kaylac1232,

I understand your caveating your post and requesting respectful answers.

I just want to make clear that this forum is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, creed, nationality, sexual preference, gender, gender preference, or any factor whatsoever. You served, you are welcome here!

Fair warning to anyone who might post something (or have an itch to say something). I won't abide any nastiness or unwelcoming comments. (And this includes any backhanded "shade.") If you are thinking you want to share your personal views about anyone's status or situation and it starts or includes that you don't agree with their situation and want to offer your opinion on that, you will be banned. That commentary or opinion is not welcome here and you will be dispatched quickly. If you have personal heartburn about who is welcome here, you are best served by setting up your own website or talking about it with your friends- just not here.

I am very serious about this bedrock principle of respecting all servicemembers and you don't want to test me on this. There will not be many or any further warnings. Don't step on it by getting on the wrong the side of this. If you start to write something that even mentions anyone not being welcome here or that you disagree with some policy issue or the like, you are warned. I am not joking on this point and this is not up for debate. If you are writing something and are unsure if it falls outside of this site's position, write it at your peril. EVERY SERVICEMEMBER IS WELCOME HERE.

I was in the military from 2011-2015. During the summer of 2015 I was MEB for depression and subsequently put onto TDRL in Dec 2015. The military attributed my depression to being in the service and my deployment. Following my discharge I become more depressed as some of my personal things resurfaced from when I was a younger child. Around the end of 2016 I accepted that I was transgender and realized much of my anxiety and depression stemmed from this fact. In the middle of 2017, I was called to do a re-examination for the TDRL. I explained that my depression/anxiety mainly stemmed from the fact that I was trans, and most of my mental health issues had subsided and I was doing well in school. I also stated that I felt I could come back into the military. The examiner noted this fact on her paperwork, which ended up on the form given to the PEB and me. The examiner finished her paperwork by stating I was still unfit for military service and given discharge with severance.
The issue I see here is whether your depression is the issue, or if your "gender dysphoria" is the issue that makes you unfit and whether each condition was considered and how the military addressed your issues.


I didnt try to fight it as I didn't care at the time and the money was nice; however, I have had a change of heart. I am finishing up a nursing degree in the next few years and would really like to commission into the military and be a flight nurse working to heal military members hurt in the Middle East. At the time of the reexamination I know that transgender people were not allowed to serve in the military and I think that is why the examiner stated I was unfit for military service, as I told her I was fine mentally.
Can you provide more information? What was your final disposition from the PEB? Also, what is your VA rating, and the bases for the VA ratings?


Do I have any recourse here, now that trans people can serve? Is it like DADT was rescinded, and gay people who were discharged could reenlist? Is there a way I can change my discharge?
I would need a lot more information to understand your situation and to provide more input.

There may be an issue between your basis for separation, your ability or meeting accesnsion/appointment criteria. and these may turn on both the mental health issue you were separated on, and the transgender issue. (I have posted about the regulations on transgender members, but, the post may be out of date). I am not sure if you have a basis for being cleared for accession/commissioning. Would need to know a lot more about your case, and your current situation.

One thing you mentioned, though, is that you are looking to complete your nursing degree "in the next few years."

Based on that, I think that the regulations and laws may change in the nect "few years." And, your own health condition may change over that time.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you all.
Hope this helped. Best of luck to you in the future!
 

chaplaincharlie

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
The cause of symptoms is very important in treatment. Good treatment plans are not based on diagnosis alone.

From a fit/unfit perspective the condition, severity and its effects on service are considered. I am glad you are doing well now. Sometimes a person will no well in one setting and not so well in another setting. ie Doing well in school does not necessarily translate into doing well back in the military.

As to your legal question, you would probably need an attorney to guide you through the process.

Best wishes
Mike
 

oddpedestrian

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#4
I think Perry has it right its either a depression or gender dysphoria issue. The only problem is the DOD is much tougher than the VA and revisiting and issuing new diagnosis after you left service. Unless there are many like you that were also discharged for an MH condition and then it came out later as being more attributed to gender identity is the only way I could see then opening up those doors again for re-entry.

Networking would be a very good start to see what similarities you see in other service members discharges that are synonymous with yours and then you can take that information to your representatives who could then bring it up to the DOD.
 

kaylac1232

Registered Member
#5
Jason: My final unfitting diagnosis was Unspecified Depressive Disorder. Remarks from AF Form 356: "Since being placed on TDRL status, the SM's UDD, also diagnosed as PTSD, has improved and stabilized, but continues to prevent the SM from reasonably performing duties commensurate with their office grade rank or rating. The informal PEB finds the SM unfit and recommends discharge with severance with a disability of 10%...Since being placed on TDRL, the SM was also diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and treated with hormone therapy. It appears that the depression and anxiety were mostly related to the current diagnosis of gender dysphoria and treatment of this has significantly reduced the depression and anxiety symptoms. They are compentent for pay and records with mild symptoms that appear manageble and not significantly functionally impairing. They have stopped taking their antidperessent medications and has been in therapy since Jun 2017. The SM currently has minimal impairment for military service and no social and industrial impairment, but continues to have chronic sleep impairment. The SM's condition now requires treatment with chronic hormone therapy and remains unfitting for continue military service." This was in August of 2017, when transgender people were not supposed to be kicked out, but were not allowed to join.

My VA ratings are currently: 50% UDD, 10% tinnitus, 10% hypothyroidism, 10% sacroiliac. I graduate in May of 2020. I ask about this early because I know how long the military can take with asking for a change in discharges.

Chaplain: Thank you for the advice. I really did enjoy the military and did well in it. I think my internal conflicts with my gender caused a great deal of depression/anxiety and I would have continued in service should I have been born without the dysphoria.
 

kaylac1232

Registered Member
#6
Jason,
I also wanted to say thank your for vehement support in posting here and asking for help. I appreciate your willingness to defend myself and others possibly in the same position.
 

gsfowler

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
#7
There are specific policy and guidance directions for the recruitment and appointment of transgendered service members. Here is a fact sheet. https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/f...icy/Transgender-Implementation-Fact-Sheet.pdf

One of the biggest hurdles I believe you are going to face is getting a waiver for your behavioral health conditions. You can attempt to have your discharge changed from unspecified depressive disorder, however I would imagine the legal expertise required would be rather costly. Perhaps Jason may chime in on this, but I think there is not much case law to parallel.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#8
They are compentent for pay and records with mild symptoms that appear manageble and not significantly functionally impairing. They have stopped taking their antidperessent medications
Interesting use of "They" here; I wonder if the PEB was using "they" as a pronoun as a matter of respect?

The language uses overall speaks to a minimal degree of disability (which, they likely used as a basis to move you from a retirement to a separation finding).


I graduate in May of 2020. I ask about this early because I know how long the military can take with asking for a change in discharges.
Timing is likely to be an issue on many levels. Prior to graduating, I don't see how you could even apply for a commission as a Nurse. (Additionally, over time, the laws and regulations regarding transgender members serving may well change, perhaps in your favor).

Overall, it may be early for you to be able to undertake challenges to your separation. That said, I can see some approaches to take in appealing.

Jason,
I also wanted to say thank your for vehement support in posting here and asking for help. I appreciate your willingness to defend myself and others possibly in the same position.
You're welcome, but, it is just leadership, common decency, and respect. Everyone should accord folks the same.


You can attempt to have your discharge changed from unspecified depressive disorder, however I would imagine the legal expertise required would be rather costly. Perhaps Jason may chime in on this, but I think there is not much case law to parallel.
There really are so many issues and possible ways to pursue an appeal, and much depends on goals, the appetite for risk, cost-benefit analyses, and evolving legal issues, that I am not sure I can offer much more input.

I hope all goes well for kaylac1232! Best of luck in the future!!
 

kaylac1232

Registered Member
#9
They used "he". I changed it for my own sake. Well I was considering ROTC as well as looking at getting a commission as soon as I graduate. Normally the AF only takes nurses with 1 year of experience; however, they take a small number of nurses who just graduate and do a residency program for them. Do you know who/what I have to do to start an appeal? Thank you again for your help.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#10
They used "he". I changed it for my own sake.
Okay, well, that explains it. I caught the unusual use of "they" as a pronoun by what I thought was the PEB. It actually would have been a pleasant surprise if they actually used your preferred pronoun, but, then again, I don't know if you expressed a preference in your communications with the PEB.

Well I was considering ROTC as well as looking at getting a commission as soon as I graduate.
I am thinking that you would run into the same issues as anyone who has been separated- that is, you would have to meet accession standards and you likely (almost certainly) have an RE-Code that would make pursuing either option difficult or unlikely to succeed.
Normally the AF only takes nurses with 1 year of experience; however, they take a small number of nurses who just graduate and do a residency program for them.
Are you only interested in serving in the AF? There may be (especially over time), differences in regulations between the services that might give an advantage to pursuing another branch.
Do you know who/what I have to do to start an appeal? Thank you again for your help.
Well, this is somewhat complicated. Again, an issue may be that if you want to only pursue a commission as a Nurse, you haven't graduated yet, so it might be premature (and appeals might be denied on that basis) to appeal. Generally speaking, you would pursue an Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records application. However, there might be an avenue in the Federal Courts. It is really hard to offer much without doing a thorough review of your circumstances and much research into the issues based on a thorough understanding of those circumstances. I can also see a "multi-step" approach to pursuing appeals. It will likely take a lot of time and it may be costly. I hate to sound like a broken record, but, it really depends on a detailed understanding of your circumstances, including your goals.
 

kaylac1232

Registered Member
#11
Nice catch! Yeah, I had changed my gender/name by then; however, they stuck with what was on DEERS. My RE code is still the one that says I am on TDRL. They haven't given me a new DD-214 yet, as I still have the one when I transfered to the TDRL. I am interested in serving in the military, regardless of branch. My initial choice is AF, but I would take any branch that lets me join.

True, that does make sense since I haven't fully graduated. Also, I know I would probably be the first to go through with this as I'm sure most trans people who left the military don't want to be back in. My current goal is just be back in the military. Should I not be able to rejoin I would still serve in some capacity with the VA or Civ DOD nurse, but I would regret it if I didnt try to get back in. I have made many strides with my mental health and I truly feel I could rejoin and be an asset and show that trans Americans can serve. I don't know if this would help with my appeal, but I go to a therapist once a month who could vouch for my mental health. I also have a 3.897 GPA in nursing school and could easily get reference letters from my instructors. AFAIK I have no other health condition that could keep me from rejoining.
 
#12
I would like to just add my experience here. It is very difficult to get back in, after being medically retired. I know a Marine who was in a Stewart that ran over an IED. He had a fractured skull, severe brain swelling, and was in a medical coma for 4 months. Due to the pressure on the military to move on from non-deployable service members, he was pushed through due to him having some memory problems after recovery. He was medically retired at 50%. 2 years later, he doesn't have any problems at all. No lasting memory problems. The only way you would be able to tell something happened is from the scar on his face. He has tried to get back into the Marines and has failed. He went through the board to correct military records, they denied it. Their exact statement was that they only consider his medical condition at the time of the med board, and that his improvement doesn't factor into it. He meets all other criteria for enlistment. He is heartbroken right now.
 
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