SERVE Act seeks to aid trans troops discharged under Trump ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Chris Pappas (L), has introduced the SERVE Act to aid transgender troops. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In the wake of the Trump administration implementing its ban on transgender military service, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House that seeks to ensure service members discharged under the policy are eligible for care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Securing the Rights our Veterans Earned Act, or SERVE Act, requires the VA to provide health benefits to these troops if they obtain an “Other Than Honorable” or “Entry-Level Separation” discharge because of their gender identity.

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Members of Congress, activists rally against trans troop ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) speaks at a rally against the Trump administration’s policy of banning openly transgender servicemembers that took place at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool on April 10, 2019. The policy is scheduled to take effect tomorrow. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Members of Congress joined activists who gathered at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool April 10 to rally against the ban on openly transgender servicemembers that is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the week.

California Congressman Gil Cisneros, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Navy, noted he was in the armed forces during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce bills to protect transgender servicemembers

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Feb. 7 introduced bills that would allow openly transgender people to enlist in the military and protect trans servicemembers who are already serving.

U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.) introduced House Resolution 1032 in the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) introduced an identical bill in the U.S. Senate.

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Awkward tension as Pentagon hosts Pride while pushing to ban trans members

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Pride is supposed to be a time for celebration, but there was palpable tension Monday at the annual Defense Department Pride event as LGBTQ civilians and members of the armed forces recognized the occasion.

The event — hosted by DOD Pride, an affinity group for LGBTQ Pentagon employees — has been held each year within the Defense Department since 2011 when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was certified. But the elephant in the room was President Trump’s transgender military ban. It was the first such celebration since Trump announced in July 2017 on Twitter he’d ban transgender service members “in any capacity.”

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