Dalila Ali Rajah
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Filmmakers Seek to Tell Trans Service Members' Stories

Transgender soldier

While the U.S. military moves slowly in reviewing the ban on service by transgender people, some filmmakers hope to put a spotlight on trans troops who are serving honorably and sometimes risking discharge by being open about their status.

Director Gabe Silverman and producers Fiona Dawson and Jamie Coughlin have initiated a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise $89,500 to produce a documentary about those troops as part of the TransMilitary Project.

“Despite the current policies banning their service, 15,500 troops identify as being transgender,” they explain on the Kickstarter page. “This film documents courageous men and women who come out not only to their commands, but to top brass officials inside the Pentagon. Immediately, they could face discharge and yet they continue on sharing their personal stories in the hopes that America’s armed forces will finally end the discriminatory ban upon their service.”

The moviemakers say the film will “give a picture of what it means to be transgender and help combat the discrimination” they face in both military and civilian life. “When we demonstrate that trans people are serving honorably — from administrative to combat careers — and serving alongside their cisgender (non-transgender) brothers and sisters, then we can demonstrate that they should be respected as equals in civilian life, too,” they add.

Defense Department officials have been reviewing the ban for several months with the intention of lifting it. Last year they predicted the ban would end by this month, but that has not happened, as there are still disagreements among military leaders about the process.

The filmmakers have so far raised $12,325 toward their goal, and there are 24 days left in their Kickstarter campaign. Find out more and watch a preview here.

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