Current Affairs

Trump to face transgender service members at State of the Union address

Sofia Lotto Persio February 4, 2019
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President Donald J. Trump

President Donald J. Trump (Win McNamee/Getty)

Democrat lawmakers have invited transgender service members to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, scheduled for February 5.

Presidential hopeful and LGBT+ ally Kirsten Gillibrand was the latest to announce her guest to the event, which sees the US president addressing Congress and deliver a speech addressing the country’s condition and challenges, as well as outlining the administration’s priorities for the year ahead.

“Patriots like Lt. Commander Blake Dremann—the first openly transgender service member to be promoted in our military’s history, and the president of @sparta_pride—make our armed forces and our country stronger. I’m honored he’ll be joining me at the State of the Union,” Gillibrand wrote on Twitter on Monday (February 4).

Lt. Commander Blake Dremann is a guest of Kristen Gillibrand.
Kristen Gillibrand has invited Lt. Commander Blake Dremann to join her at the State of the Union address. (Kirsten Gillibrand/Twitter)

The New York Senator joins three of her fellow lawmakers in extending invitations to member of the armed forces targeted by the transgender military ban promoted by the Trump administration, which proposes to stop “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition” from serving.

At least four lawmakers invited transgender service members to protest Trump’s military ban

Openly gay New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas, who was elected to the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections, invited transgender Navy veteran Tavion Dignard.

Pappas explicitly stated his support for transgender service members in a message to his Twitter followers on February 3: “The Trump Admin’s transgender service ban makes America less safe and politicizes our military; everyone who is fit to serve should be treated equally. I’m proud to welcome to Tavion to the People’s House.”

“Our transgender troops make us stronger!”

— Jackie Speier

California Representative Jackie Speier, who fought to lift the previous ban on transgender troops openly serving in the military, announced she will be bringing Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, whose picture she had displayed during former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ testimony at the House Armed Services Committee in April.

“Last April, I asked Sec Mattis whether he would thought courageous trans service members like AF Staff Sgt Ireland are a ‘burden’ on our military. This year I’m proud to have Staff Sgt Ireland as my guest of honor at the He’s proof that our transgender troops make us stronger!” she wrote on social media on February 1.

California Representative Jackie Speier opposed the ban on transgender service members.
California Representative Jackie Speier said she has invited Staff Sgt Logan Ireland to the State of the Union. (Jackie Speier/Twitter)

Virginia Congressman A. Donald McEachin, another vocal opponent of Trump’s military ban, will host Navy Petty Officer Second Class Megan Winters, an active-duty transgender soldier who has served in the armed forces for nearly six years.

Winters is also one of Lambda Legal’s clients in Karnoski, one of the four trans military ban cases currently working through the courts.

“As many as 15,000 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military, and they deserve our utmost respect and gratitude,” Congressman McEachin said in a statement. “Unlike our current commander in chief, I will always support and defend the brave members of our military.”

 

Related topics: chris pappas, Donald Trump, Jackie Speier, kirsten gillibrand, Lt. Commander Blake Dremann, Megan Winters, Staff Sgt Logan Ireland, state of the union address, Tavion Dignard, transgender military ban, US

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