Decorated Transgender Troops to Testify Before Congress
BY JULIE WATSON AND JENNIFER McDERMOTT
Feb. 27, 2019
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Lindsey Muller served in the Army as a man for nearly a decade before telling her commanders in 2014 that she identified as a woman and would resign because military policy barred transgender personnel. Her superiors, citing her outstanding performance, urged the decorated attack helicopter pilot to stay so she did.
After then-President Barack Obama changed the policy, she started dressing in uniform as a woman. Muller went on to be recommended for a promotion as the surgery to complete her gender transition was scheduled, but the operation was postponed in 2017 when President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was reinstituting the ban.
With the ban now blocked by lawsuits, transgender troops Wednesday will testify for the first time before Congress.
This undated photo provided by her wife Jessica Kibodeaux shows Lindsey Muller and her dog Emma hiking in the Cheyenne Mountains west of Fort Carson, Colo. Muller, a 19-year combat veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq, diligently followed the Pentagon guidelines to transition. In the nearly three years since the U.S. military welcomed transgender people into the armed forces in 2016, they have served without incident. Some, like Muller, have earned prestigious medals or received other forms of recognition. (Jessica Kibodeaux via AP) THE ASSOCIATED PRESSIn the nearly three years since the U.S. military welcomed transgender people into the armed forces, they have served without incident. Some, like Muller, have earned prestigious medals or received other forms of recognition.
They say they stand as proof against President Donald Trump's argument that their presence is a burden.
"Once you meet transgender people who have served in the different branches ... it's really hard to dismiss the fact that you will find Purple Heart recipients, Bronze Star winners, attack aviators, Navy SEALs," said Muller, who will not be testifying but is a plaintiff in one of four lawsuits challenging the ban. "We've been here, and we will continue to be here regardless. In what capacity is up to the administration."
The hearing will be held by the subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee chaired by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier. Speier introduced bipartisan legislation in February that would prohibit the Department of Defense from denying the enlistment or continued service of transgender people if Trump's ban takes effect.
Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate. It's unclear whether the legislation would be voted on as a stand-alone bill or be folded into the defense bill, which could be harder for Trump to veto.
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