Tag: victory

Removal of Transgender Military Ban Is a Victory for Trans People and Their Families and Children

Removal of Transgender Military Ban Is a Victory for Trans

President Biden’s executive order yesterday ending the ban on transgender people serving in the military is not only a victory for the many trans people in uniform, but also for the children and families they support.

Jennifer and Deborah Peace and their children - Credit: TransMilitary

Jennifer and Deborah Peace and their children – Credit: TransMilitary

The premise of the executive order is very simple: “All Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve.” Biden added, “The All-Volunteer Force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security.”

For the more than 15,000 transgender people currently serving, that’s an acknowledgment of equality. For those who are parents, it means they do not have to fear losing their jobs and being unable to feed and house their children. The U.S. military is the country’s largest employer of transgender people, according to the 2018 documentary TransMilitary. The unemployment rate for trans people is three times higher than the national average, and over one quarter (27 percent) of trans people who held or applied for a job reported being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion due to their gender identity, per the National Center for Transgender Equality‘s latest U.S. Transgender Survey. (The survey covers 2016-17, but I can’t imagine the number improved during the last four years.)

As Deborah Peace said in Transmilitary about her spouse Jennifer Peace, a captain in the U.S. Army and a trans woman, “She was the breadwinner of the family.” The Peaces have three children.

The removal of the ban will also, I imagine, positively impact service members and their spouses who are not trans themselves, but are raising transgender or gender-creative children. Consider: The Department of Defense Child Development Virtual Lab School (VLS), an online professional development system for the 33,000 child- and youth-care professionals working with children of military families on bases around the world, in 2018 launched a course on “Creating Gender Safe Spaces.” Sarah Lang, associate director of research and professional development at VLS, told me in an interview, “Part of the reason we developed this course was that people working in military childcare saw gender-expansive kids and reached out to us. We want to be supportive of children and families with gender-expansive or LGBT members, and to arm staff with tools to navigate conversations with other families.” Clearly, then, there were enough of these families that such a program was worth creating. Yet children are less likely to thrive in an environment that condemns their identities. Transgender people serving openly (and perhaps occasionally visiting on-base classrooms) may give these children important role models.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has also clarified that the new policy applies not only to transgender people currently serving, but also to those wishing to enlist. He noted, too:

The United States Armed Forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens. I also believe we should avail ourselves of the best possible talent in our population, regardless of gender identity. We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and the devotion to serve in uniform.

This is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do.

Darn right.

As we move forward, however, let us not forget how we got here. TransMilitary, which profiles not only the Peace family, but also several other transgender service members, is available on several of the major streaming services. I encourage you to watch. It’s a reminder that not only did transgender service members and their families feel the negative impact of the ban, but that many put their careers on the line by sharing their stories and speaking out against it. It is in large part because of their efforts, along with research (and more research) and the work of many other advocates, that Biden put pen to paper and signed yesterday’s order, affirming transgender people’s right to serve their country on equal terms.

Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace, and Senior Airman Logan Ireland - Credit: TransMilitary

Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace, and Senior Airman Logan Ireland – Credit: TransMilitary

If reading’s more your thing, check out the 2019 NPR profile of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bree “B” Fram, her spouse Peg, and their two kids; this piece by Alli Alexander, an Army veteran, mother, and now military spouse, about her husband’s transition while in the Army; or this InStyle profile of Capt. Peace.

This executive order is personal for me—I have a friend who is a transgender man, a parent, and a serving member of the Armed Forces. I’m delighted for him and his family, and for all transgender service members. Thanks to them for their service to us all.

Serbia’s gay prime minister wins landslide victory amid corruption claims

Serbia's gay prime minister wins landslide victory amid corruption claims

Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia, at the Western Balkans Summit in Poland on 5 July, 2019. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty)

Serbia’s first female and first openly gay prime minister Ana Brnabic has won a second term following an election marred by claims of corruption.

Prime minister Brnabic, leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, was nominated by the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic to remain in office after securing 188 deputies in the 250-seat parliament.

Her landslide victory came amid a rocky campaign that saw the June 21 election being boycotted by the main opposition parties, who accused president Vucic of suppressing media critical of his rule.

Defending Brnabic at a press conference on Monday, Vucic said: “Brnabic didn’t use her term of office to benefit foreign or local power centers, she just fought for the interests of this country.”

He added that he had asked Brnabic to choose half of the new cabinet. “The new government will have three main goals, namely to strengthen the country in the fields of the economy, health, and defence,” he said.

The approval of Brnabic’s new cabinet is largely a formality, and parliament is expected to reconvene in the coming days.

Brnabic, 43, became Serbia’s first female and first openly gay prime minister in 2017 after Vucic resigned the post in order to stand in the presidential election.

Her appointment seemed unlikely as same-sex marriage remains constitutionally prohibited in Serbia and homophobia is common.

While she appears to have the support of the electorate, she’s an unpopular figure among Serbia’s LGBT+ community, who told her she wasn’t welcome at the 2018 Pride parade because of a lack of progress on LGBT+ issues.

She attended the previous year but stoked tensions when she told crowds that LGBT+ issues would only be addressed once Serbia had tackled more important problems, including inflation, pensions and the standard of living.

It was “a scandalous statement,” the head of Serbia’s Gay Lesbian Info Centre, Predrag Azdejkovic, told the BBC at the time. There has been little improvement on LGBT+ issues in the years since.

In 2019 Brnabic’s government moved to ban artificial insemination and IVF for anyone who has “a history of homosexual relations” within the last five years – even though artificial insemination was the very method Brnabic herself used to conceive a child.

SCOTUS victory for LGBTQ rights – Lesbian.com

SCOTUS victory for LGBTQ rights – Lesbian.com

BY NCLR

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone.” — Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director

To say we were happily surprised this morning is an understatement. Just last week the federal administration repealed HHS rules protecting LGBTQ people from denials of healthcare, even though the Affordable Care Act prohibits such discrimination. That callous targeting of vulnerable communities happened on the same day we remembered and mourned those lives lost in the Pulse Orlando shooting.

Today is a celebration! The Supreme Court of the United States has now issued its ruling in three Title VII cases, holding —in no uncertain terms— that LGBTQ people ARE protected from discrimination under federal law.

“This is a huge victory not just for LGBTQ people, but for our country, which benefits enormously when LGBTQ people are permitted to participate and contribute on equal terms,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “Today’s decision will be remembered as a watershed in the history of LGBTQ rights, even as our country continues to grapple with the brutal legacy of racism. The transgender movement owes a particular debt of gratitude to Aimee Stephens, who courageously fought this battle in the final months of her life.” — Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU: HISTORIC SUPREME COURT TITLE VII RULING
with NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
12:00 PM (PT)/3:00 PM (ET)
REGISTER NOW

While LGBTQ people now have legal protection from discrimination at work, we still have a long way to go to secure comprehensive federal protections for our community. But this ruling gives us something we haven’t had in a long time: Hope. This ruling opens the door to progress. We will continue to fight for equality and we will continue to win.

Tags: lesbian legal rights, lesbian rights, NCLR

Posted & filed under Activism.