• From left, Navy veteran Tavion Dignard, Army Maj. Ian Brown, Capt. Jennifer Peace, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Winters and Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland attend the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Feb. 5. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ Military Organizations Applaud Lawmakers

Members of Congress Bring Visibility to Transgender Military Service Through SOTU Invitations

BTL Staff
By | 2019-02-06T11:20:50-04:00 February 6th, 2019|National, News|

Several members of Congress invited actively-serving and veteran transgender service members as their honored guests to President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
For many of the legislators, the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the current administration to implement their ban on open transgender military service came into play.
“I am humbled that more than 15,000 selfless, transgender patriots will be represented on the House floor during the State of the Union Address, thanks to the invitations from several members of Congress,” said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins. “Through their invitations, these legislators are reminding our nation of an important fact that our commander-in-chief seems to have forgotten—our nation’s armed forces are not better despite open transgender military service, they are better because of their open and authentic service.”
It is estimated that more than 134,000 of the nation’s veterans identify as transgender and more than 15,000 actively-serving patriots identify with a gender different than the sex they were assigned at birth. For the last thirty months, transgender individuals have been able to openly serve and enter the nation’s armed forces.
– Army Maj. Ian Brown and Army Capt. Jennifer Peace attended as the guests of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12).
– Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Winters attended as the guest of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA, 4). Petty Officer Winters serves as a plaintiff in Karnoski v. Trump, one of the class-action lawsuits challenging the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposed ban on open transgender military service.
– Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann attended as the guest of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
– Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland attended as the guest of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA, 14).
– Navy Veteran Tavion Dignard attended as the guest of Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH, 1).
“By bringing these highly trained, decorated service members to the State of the Union, members of Congress are helping to put a face to the thousands of transgender troops serving our nation around the world at this very moment,” said American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Instead of being singled out by the Trump-Pence administration for discrimination, these patriotic Americans deserve our nation’s utmost thanks and support for their sacrifices and service. We are grateful for the Members of Congress who have stood behind our transgender service members and their families through this incredibly difficult time.”
“Day after day, our transgender service members prove just how capable they are,” said SPARTA Communications Director Bryan Bree Fram. “Visible to their commanders, they are regularly recognized by the military for their accomplishments. Now, thanks to these legislators, their visibility is magnified, and the American people can get a glimpse of everything they do to support and defend the constitution and this nation.”
OutServe-SLDN and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit, Karnoski v. Trump, in August 2017, on behalf of nine individual plaintiffs and three organizational plaintiffs – the Human Rights Campaign, the American Military Partner Association, and the Seattle-based Gender Justice League.
The State of Washington later joined the lawsuit. In addition to Karnoski v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump, Doe v. Trump, and Stone v. Trump, filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, and the American Civil Liberties Union respectively, are also challenging the proposed ban.
Read more about Karnoski v. Trump here.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.