Representative Joe Kennedy III, who is delivering the Democratic response to Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is also bringing a transgender soldier as his guest.
Staff Sergeant Patricia King enlisted right after graduating from Cape Cod Tech, and has been deployed to Afghanistan three times. She thinks of her years in the Army as a blessing. She is also a transgender woman.
Last June, Trump declared that King and other transgender people could not serve in any capacity in the US military, dismissing them as a disruptive force. Courts have blocked his order for now, but the future remains uncertain.
King told the Globe that she was the first transgender service member to have her gender reassignment surgery paid for by the military. She has served for 19 years. She realized she was transgender shortly after enlisting.
Trump’s attempt to ban transgender military service members has been opposed since he announced it in July, after mulling it for just 10 minutes following a discussion with his advisors.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN this week asked a federal district court to permanently block the Trump administration’s plan to stop transgender people from openly serving in the U.S. armed services. The motion for summary judgment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington seeks a speedy resolution of the case.
The lawsuit brought on by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN represents nine individual plaintiffs along with the Human Rights Campaign, Seattle-based Gender League, and the American Military Partner Association.