I want to thank you for writing your story about CH (MAJ) Calvert for the Army Times [re: Chaplain’s Facebook post denigrating transgender troops under investigation by Army]. It is important to inform people in the military of some of the real issues and views some chaplains in the corps really hold — not just the ones they publicly ascribe to — which inform and influence the way they do business and to whom and how they care for our nation’s finest.

While it is upsetting that the transgender community has been publicly compared to someone with mental illness, this is hardly the first time we have heard that, and we have endured much worse. I believe there are several issues related to CH Calvert’s views and the way he espouses them, and points to what I and many others feel is a fundamental issue in the Army Chaplain Corps. As an Army chaplain, first and foremost, I must be able to hold my personal opinions and beliefs at bay when they come into conflict with another’s — most significantly when someone comes to me seeking counsel. It is only when invited to share my perspective is it appropriate to overtly and directly challenge a perspective or belief someone brings to me. Based on CH Calvert’s post I would find it very difficult to believe he actually practices the statement — core to the beliefs and workings of the Army Chaplain Corps — that he supports the free exercise of all faiths and belief systems of those under his charge. To think he can hold other’s faith, religion, spirituality with a different level of dignity and respect he affords the transgender community is naïve, at best, and dangerous, at worst. If he were to publicly denounce that core tenant of the Chaplain Corps he should certainly be swiftly removed from the service. I believe I could say with confidence that his true colors may never be publicly seen or spoken, regarding this most-important reason why we exist — support of all faiths, religions and spiritual expressions — because it would mean a sure and swift end to his career.

As a transgender woman and active-duty Army chaplain (I may be the only one), I believe it is imperative that the greater Army community knows that there are countless chaplains who do NOT hold the views of CH Calvert. The counter narrative needs to be heard. I am professionally and personally supported by dozens of active-duty Army, Navy and Air Force chaplains, doctors, and other professionals; civilian and military with the ranks from private second class to colonel; friend’s, family and my denominational endorser and worshiping community, who recognize and embrace me as a whole, complete person. I am regarded and sought out as a valued member of a team who brings a unique view to many of today’s issues and someone who passionately and with great skill, care and compassion ministers to soldiers and family members, active duty and retired.

I would be remiss if I failed to remember I could not have done this on my own, and we in the transgender community need to recognize and thank all those who came before us and paved the way for allowing us to be where we are today. To quote Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” and reflect that the giants who came before me need to be recognized and celebrated as we look back on the challenges they faced, often living their lives authentically when it is even more unpopular and dangerous than today. I can no longer remain silent and henceforth I will not. It is because of the courage of my transgender brothers and sisters that I am able to continue this fight. We are here. We are not going away.

Chaplain (Major) Rebecca A. Ammons, U.S. Army

Senior Chaplain Clinician


In Other News
Load More