Navy SEAL Ashley Nefzger heard that President Biden would sign an executive order lifting Trump’s trans military ban. She was cautiously optimistic, as they say.
On Friday, she told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper,
“I didn’t necessarily want to get my hopes up.
I was hopeful for it, but I also wanted to keep my expectations at bay on what exactly it was going to mean.”
The Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military to go into effect two years ago. Nefzger had already been serving in the military since 2002.
In 2019 she officially transitioned and became the first active-duty Navy SEAL in history to identify as transgender.
Two weeks ago, Biden did repeal the ban.
“That’s a weight lifted not only off of my shoulders, but off of so many transgender individuals that are serving right now, but also all of those who are not open and who are still unsure if they want to come out or unsure of themselves.
That’s allowing everybody to continue to be themselves without having to worry of any adverse effects from their command or being pushed out. And it allows them to serve with freedom in order to do their job.
So I think it’s amazing and I’m happy that it happened, so I think it’s going to give a lot of other individuals that chance to finally be themselves while not having to worry about anything else, and hiding.”
SPART*A, the Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All there are approximately 15,000 transgender service members, and the organization is in contact with more than 300 other transgender individuals who are ready to sign up for the military.
Trump first announced the ban on Twitter in July 2017. It was rebuked by the Democratic-led House of Representatives and condemned by LGBTQ activists as discriminatory. Trump said that transgender people in the military would lead to
“tremendous medical costs and disruption.”
Before signing the executive order last week, Biden said from the Oval Office that the order
“is reinstating a position that the previous commanders and, as well as the secretaries, have supported. And what I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing that
“no one will be separated or discharged from the military or denied reenlistment on the basis of gender identity, and
for those transgender service members who were discharged or separated because of gender identity, their cases will be reexamined.”
Ashley Nefzger is the first active duty transgender Navy SEAL. She has been serving our country since 2002. This is her first time being interviewed. https://t.co/6VFpExTCes— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) February 6, 2021