Andy Blevins, Legal & Policy Manager, OutServe-SLDN
Serving in our nation’s military is undeniably one of the most courageous and selfless acts an individual can make. According to former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, nothing but an individual’s “lack of merit” should prevent them from such service. President Obama agreed: merely being transgender should not disqualify somebody from military service, he said.
Neither Mr. Carter’s nor President Obama’s statements created a newfound desire to serve this nation: transgender people have been serving alongside us, in silence, forever. In fact, it is estimated that more than 15,000 transgender individuals are currently wearing the cloth of our country. They follow more than 134,000 transgender veterans and precede even more who are standing by, ready to offer their own commitment and dedication to our nation.