Friday, April 10, 2015
Transgender SGT. in Military Limbo
After a voluntary Psychological Evaluation a few weeks ago, his results returned negative for gender dysphoria and the U.S. Army deemed him fit to perform his normal duties without facing separation orders. However, he is in administrative limbo because his gender marker in the Military Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is still listed as female. Sgt. Ortega’s Command has requested clear guidance from the DOD as to whether this means Shane can stay in the military or not.
Sgt. Ortega is not able to accommodate media interviews at this time, but has offered the following comment:
“My commitment to serving this country runs deep. I have been a team and squad leader, a crew chief, and a machine gun section chief. I have been on over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought side-by-side in foxholes and remote operating bases. As I fight for my country in foreign lands, all I want it is to be able to serve openly while keeping the job that I love. I will continue to fight this fight for the 700,000 transgender veterans that have gone before me who were forced to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are.”
A recent Associated Press story suggests military leaders worry about attempts by the Pentagon to lift the transgender service ban. Joshua Block, attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project expresses, “Sgt. Ortega is living proof that trans people are ready, willing, and able to serve their country, and that military regulations labeling trans service members as automatically unfit for duty have no basis in reality. Soldiers like Shane should not have to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are."
Washington Post feature story
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