The trans community has a long and proud history of people who have answered the call in war and peacetime to serve in our country's military going back to Christine Jorgenson.
Many of our past and present trans community leaders are also military veterans, and there are an estimated 15,000 trans people currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.
I've had the pleasure of meeting many of them serving across the various branches, but unlike our LGB brothers and sisters, the 2011 repeal of DADT didn't allow transpeople to openly serve, and left us vulnerable to being discharged if our trans status was discovered.
The momentum is rapidly growing for open military service for transgender people, especially in light of the recent AMA resolution stating 'there was no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the US military.'
During the recent LGBT White House Pride Month Reception, transmasculine Air Force Senior Airman Logan Ireland was in attendance along with his transfeminine fiancee, Army Corporal Laila Villanueva as a guest of President Obama.
The Air Force and Army have recently adopted policy changes that make it harder to discharge transgender members of those two services, and now the Navy and Marines have followed suit and done the same thing.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a memorandum last Wednesday directed at the chief of naval operations and the commandant of the Marine Corps stating, "Effective immediately, separations initiated under the provisions of the reference for service members with a diagnosis or history of gender dysphoria, who identify themselves as transgender, or who have taken steps to externalize the condition, must be forwarded to the assistant secretary of the Navy (manpower and reserve affairs) for decision."
Of course, Sgt. Ortega said he was "elated" with hearing the news because it gives transgender troops worried about discharge "the opportunity to breathe."
The policy change for transgender troops "doesn't mean that equal
opportunity protections, uniforms, medical care and other important
issues" have been resolved, Sgt. Ortega said. "It simply means a step forward
in the right direction toward ethical and moral human rights treatment
for our service members."
And current trans members of the Navy and Marines along with our trans vets from those services would definitely agree with you.
We are getting closer to the day when trans people who wish to do so can openly serve our country, and that day looks like it will amazingly happen in our lifetimes.