Transgender an issue for VFW post

May 24, 2010 at 8:57 PM
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 24 (UPI) -- A transgender U.S. veteran must dress as a man at his VFW post until he completes his transformation to a woman or changes his name, the organization says.

The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Monday retired 24-year Navy veteran Larry Bush, who now calls himself Laura, has been helping out at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Virginia Beach since last year.

His gender became an issue when he showed up at General MacArthur Memorial Post 392 in April to discuss his coming out dressed as a woman.

Post Commander Joe Brady, after conferring with district and state representatives, responded by saying Bush can remain a member but must attend meetings dressed as a man until he either changes his name or has a full sex-change operation. Brady is operating under VFW bylaws requiring anyone who creates a disturbance to leave.

"We're asking that one day a month when he comes into the post to be in appropriate attire," Brady said. "He can wear whatever he wants the rest of the time."

Bush, 44, has started the name-change process and said he hopes to start hormone therapy next month.

"The VFW means a lot to me," Bush said. "I would do anything that they asked me to do -- besides quit."

National VFW spokesman Jerry Newberry told the newspaper if the national organization were asked, "we would never give an opinion that that member could not attend a meeting because of his circumstances."

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