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WATCH: Honoring Trans Military Members This Veterans Day

WATCH: Honoring Trans Military Members This Veterans Day


The TransMilitary documentary team reminds us that the lives of all U.S. veterans are valuable. Why, then, force trans service members to continue serving in silence?

U.S. Navy veteran Landon Wilson is among the estimated 134,000 transgender military veterans the U.S. commemorates today. But even as the country pauses to reflect on the work and sacrifice of its service members, it remains clear that all veterans cannot be equal until all active members of the military are equal, as well.

Under an ongoing ban on open military service by transgender Americans -- that was not impacted by 2011 repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy -- nearly 15,500 trans service members are still unable to be out about their gender identities, pursue any aspect of transition, or seek medically necessary health care, according to the University of California at Los Angeles' Williams Institute.

If these men and women reveal their trans identities -- or if, like Wilson, a mismatch in their gender markers on military paperwork is discovered -- they can be discharged. This remains the case despite research, such as a recent landmark study from the Palm Center, that has increasingly concluded that there is "no compelling medical rationale" to continue disqualifying trans American from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces.

The video below, produced by the team of TransMilitary, a documentary centered around the lives of trans service members in the U.S. and U.K., succinctly raises awareness of of the ban while still saluting those who continue to serve in silence.

"This Veterans Day, I pause to honor all the men and women who made it possible for me to wear the uniform," Wilson declares. "But if it were up to me, I would still be wearing it today."

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Mitch Kellaway