No White Flags

No Giving In… No Giving Up.

This title comes from a song off Powerman 5000’s ‘New Wave’ album. The song is a fairly big departure from the screaming nu-metal and electronica the band is known for. No, this song it something totally different; something poignant, and extremely topical if you’re a Transgender soldier about to be handed a ‘pink slip.’ Not just that, it’s poignant to anyone in this community who sees the current administration’s actions as an affront to our entire existence.

Born into giving in.
Taught only listening.
Are you afraid to be… your own enemy?
Thank you, surrender please.
Are you afraid to be… your own enemy
On broke and bloody knees?
No, that ain’t me, that ain’t me.

Today I live fulltime as woman.

I had anticipated my world crumbling around me after admitting my truth; that simply never happened. My wife never left me, my family accepted me, and my employer didn’t fire me. On top of it all, I have dozens — if not hundreds — of new Trans and Cisgender friends and allies locally and across the world. Transition has brought new light into my life, and I’ve never been more content with the person I am.

That being said, this journey has not been an easy one. Over these past 29 months I’ve watched this country turn my existence into a political platform, one which no one gave a thought to until an intelligent Black man dared to publicly declare that Transgender people are worthy of equality.

The hatred that is directed at me and those in my community by the current administration seems to stem from a purely racist position; the belief that everything president Obama did was wrong simply because of his skin tone. As a result, the GOP — mostly powerless to undo Obama’s greater successes — set their sights on the low hanging fruit, one of the easiest groups to assault; the Transgender community.

No white flags, I’ve had enough.
No giving in, no giving up.
No white flags, it’s my war.
No taking names, no keeping score.

My journey has had its share of emotional setbacks caused by the thumbs of our Twitterer-and-Chief; a man who couldn’t be burdened to physically fight for our country due to bone spurs — which, strangely enough don’t seem to impede his golfing ability. Despite that fact, this man deems himself qualified to determine whether every Transgender person can be a capable and competent soldier.

Approximately a year after 9/11 I wandered into a recruiter’s office looking to serve my country. I wasn’t enlisting to gain access to Trans-related healthcare. That notion never crossed my mind because “Don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT)was still in full effect, and I was so far in the closet that I wouldn’t even dare be friends with anyone who was LGBTQ for fear of simply being found out. Deep down, I knew who I was, but this was more than a decade before several growing addictions would eventually lead me to “out” myself.

At the recruiter’s I got turned away almost immediately because I had a visible tattoo that ran up the back of my head. I didn’t think that, during a time of war, our country could be choosy about who was willing to give themselves for the cause; but clearly I was mistaken.

Had I successfully enlisted, I probably would have left the service before I ever revealed I was Transgender. Given the recent position by the SCOTUS regarding the Transgender Military Ban I think it’s important to mention that this same situation has already played out thousands of times; many of my Transgender friends are former military. They enlisted without any agenda regarding their healthcare, and instead opted to go do something honorable. They knew that if they died fighting, their family would never have to know the secret that had been eating them up inside. Many enlisted with the intent to “man up” or die trying. What ultimately happened is crystal clear; they failed to “man up,” they failed to die, and they failed to stay in the closet.

Held under, no breathing in…
And don’t bother screaming.
Now this is what you get, and take this as a threat
Time is your only debt.
Now this is what you get, and take this as a threat
You’ll wish you could forget.
No, that ain’t me… that ain’t me.

My friends and thousands of others served honorably regardless of their conflict of gender, and I know a few who are still proudly serving this country from within the closet. Sadly, staying in the closet is exactly what this administration wants. It goes back to the ending of DADT which occurred on September 20th 2011 during the Obama administration. Again, it’s a racially motivated attack against the policies of a president who was successful, intelligent, compassionate, and articulate. This administration’s only goal is to unravel every milestone garnered by the previous administration, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

These horrific attempts to reverse protections of civil liberty are doomed!

For as much as our president and his minions think this is a tipping point for rolling back all civil rights, it’s not. It is the design of every school yard bully to only pick fights with those they deem so weak that they can prevail. This notion will be their undoing.

No white flags, I’ve had enough.
No giving in, no giving up.
No white flags, it’s my war.
No taking names, no keeping score.
No white flags, no white flags!

The Transgender community has always been undercounted because the patriarchy gave us a reason to hide. But this attack against those who seek to serve will not go unanswered. No! This was the warning shot across this community’s bow, and there are only two options that remain…

Either we retreat, cower, and maintain the status quo; only to live out the rest of our days in a mental solitary confinement where we can never reveal who we are… Or we stand up, be counted; reveal that there are so many more than the estimated 1.4 million Transgender individuals in this country, and we will not spend the rest of our days in closets built by people who never have to hide in them. This is not simply a war cry for the Transgender community, but the collective LGBTQ community. Because if this administration has their way, when they defeat the Trans community, everyone else is fair game.

It’s time to educate the gender illiterate. ‘Transgender’ is not new; it’s simply a new name for a very old condition. It’s time that they understand that we have existed for millenia. We’ve been called; Hijra, Fa’afafine, Mahu, Bakla, Kathoey, Two-Spirit, and more than a dozen other names in as many cultures. Regardless of how our politicians think they can manipulate this community, we are not going anywhere just because they are too apathetic to be burdened by treating us as they want to be treated.

From this day forward the entire country is On Notice. If you think you can deny human beings their own body autonomy by threatening their basic human rights, you’ve got another thing coming. The agency we have over our own lives is the only freedom any of us has, and the second you take that away, you become the thing you swear you’re not — unAmerican.

How long can you stay untrue,
When all you knew… wasn’t you?
No, that ain’t me… that ain’t me.
No white flags, I’ve had enough
No giving in, no giving up

It’s impossible to have a conversation about soldiers without mentioning bravery. I say to you now; I have never seen a braver group of people than those Transgender individuals who have chosen to stop living a lie that was decreed on the day of their birth. I dare say it’s that bravery that terrifies our current administration; because the desire to fight for individual freedom must come before all others. The fact that some have laid their life on the line — for the safety of our nation — only to be told that they aren’t worthy to serve is a perversion of what it means to be a true patriot.

This administration has declared war, and soon they’ll see the swell of soldiers they so aptly and expeditiously declared unfit to serve.

You’re not erasing us, you’re unleashing us. And we’ll see you on the front lines.


There isn’t an official video for this song, but this lyric video says all you need to hear.

No White Flags, I’ve Had Enough; No Giving In! No Giving Up!

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