Gender has always been on my mind -- or in my face -- whether I like it or not. As a budding feminist and then a young lesbian with short hair, I was called "Sir" on more than one occasion. I didn't like it, but was happy to have the privileges that being perceived as male brought. I am over six feet tall and trained as a martial artist.
The breathless, lurid speculation for weeks until Charlie Sheen stated in an interview today that he is HIV-positive -- and his revelation that he spent millions of dollars to keep the news quiet, extorted by several individuals -- proves just how far we have to go in talking about HIV and in battling the stigma surrounding it.
Congress's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a watershed moment that ended institutionalized discrimination unjustly targeting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Yet thousands of service members who were discharged because of their sexual orientation still bear the scars of that discrimination.