LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Kristian “Kris” Aponto

By : Jeremy Williams
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19 | Transgender Male | He/Him/His

Kris has known two truths about himself since a very young age — that he wanted to join the Navy when he was older and that he was transgender.

“I was 14 when I came out,” Kris says. “My parents sat me down and asked if I was transgender.”

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Gay State Dept. official oversees sale of military tech to allies

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Assistant Secretary Cooper consults with a senior U.S. Air Force Pilot as he tours the U.S. corral at the Paris Air Show. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

If you hear about the United States announcing the sale of military technology to a foreign ally, R. Clarke Cooper will have had a hand in it.

As assistant secretary for political-military affairs at the State Department, Cooper is charged with advancing national security interests by coordinating with allied nations the sale of U.S. conventional weapons, such as F-35 aircraft, bombs, missiles and firearms. Each year, his bureau facilitates more than $190 billion in U.S. defense transfers.

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Military reports no discharges under trans ban, advocates have doubts

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s tweets, image via The Washington Blade.

More than two years after President Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” the military services say the policy hasn’t resulted in denials of service for otherwise qualified individuals—a claim transgender advocates say is dubious at best.

The Washington Blade reached out to each of the military services—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard—to obtain numbers of discharges and denials of enlistment of transgender people since the Defense Department implemented the policy, DTM-19-004, on April 12.

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House votes to defund trans military ban in rebuke to Trump

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. House delivered on Tuesday evening a stinging rebuke to President Trump’s transgender military ban, adopting an amendment that would bar the use of U.S. funds to pay for the policy.

The vote on the amendment, introduced by Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), was 243-183 and largely along party lines. The measure was adopted as part of $983 billion minibus legislation for fiscal year 2020 seeking to fund the Defense Department, as well as labor, health and human services, education, state-foreign operations and energy and water development.

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Federal workers plan Pride celebrations, despite Trump’s anti-LGBTQ attacks

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Amid continuing news of anti-LGBT attacks from the Trump administration, LGBT federal employees are still making plans to celebrate Pride in June with events at U.S. agencies, including celebrations at the Pentagon and the State Department.

In the face of President Trump’s recently implemented transgender military ban, DOD Pride is planning an event for LGBT service members and civilian employees June 12 in the Pentagon courtyard.

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Air Force Academy removes commandant of cadets amid inquiry

By : wire report
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Above: Brig.(Gen. Kristin Goodwin makes remarks during the Graduation Tapping Ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, May 21, 2018. (Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez/Air Force)

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) | The U.S. Air Force Academy has removed its commandant of cadets amid an investigation, but officials didn’t release any details.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported on April 29 that Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin was relieved from her duties as head of military training at the school.

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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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In first, transgender troops testify about military service on Capitol Hill

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A hearing on Capitol Hill Feb. 27 became a veritable tale of two cities as transgender troops testified about their commitment to military service while Trump administration officials sought to explain why they would seek to deny them from enlisting in the armed forces (while at the same denying their proposed policy was a ban).

Each of the five transgender service members told the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee about their military records, which consisted in some cases of years of military service and deployments overseas.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: What I learned from 2018

By : Michael Wanzie
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With the New Year upon us the impulse to write some sort of “Year in Review” column is, of course, pressing upon me, but to do so would only result in me exceeding my allotted word count a fraction of the way through my list of ways in which President tRump has screwed the American people and diminished our standing as a world leader while aiding the interests of enemy nations in 2018.

I want to greet 2019 with hope and optimism. The only way to do that is to hold fast to the promise of Robert Mueller’s investigation — even though I have no doubt that if the report were to say tRump murdered someone, let alone that he conspired with the Russians regarding election interference, every imaginable step and challenge will be enacted in an effort to suppress the findings.



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Trump admin turns to Supreme Court to ban trans people from military

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With court orders in place from four judges barring the U.S. military from enacting President Trump’s transgender ban, the Trump administration is seeking recourse from the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the policy to go into effect.

U.S. Solicitor General Neil Francisco submitted petitions Nov. 23 for certiorari in three cases calling on the court to review the litigation and reverse the preliminary injunctions enjoining enforcement of Trump’s transgender ban.

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Study finds trans vets as healthy as cisgender vets

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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COLUMBIA, S.C. | Trans U.S. veterans have few health differences compared to their cisgender counterparts although their odds of having at least one disability are higher according to a new study, HealthDay News reports.

The findings were published in the July issue of Health Affairs.

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Latest ruling could give Supreme Court crack at trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its decision to keep in place an injunction barring the Trump administration from enforcing its transgender military ban, setting the stage for an initial review of the policy at the U.S. Supreme Court before U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy steps down.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied on Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department’s request to dissolve a preliminary injunction against the ban, which the administration made in the aftermath of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ report justifying President Trump’s policy

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