According to one of the highest-ranking officers in the California National Guard, Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, California will defy Trump’s wishes and not discharge transgender service members from the troops.

The Advocate reported that Beevers spoke to the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee about the decision.

“As long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as,” he said. “Nobody’s going to kick you out.”

This comes only a month after the Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s transgender military ban can proceed until lower courts make a decision about its legality. Beevers said that, despite the ruling, he believes “the ban will be lifted again.”

While the state’s National Guard, according to Beevers, doesn’t track its number of transgender soldiers, the National Center for Transgender Equality has estimated that 17,763 transgender service members could face dismissal nationwide."

Equality California, an LGBTQ organization who’s suing the president over the ban, showed their support of the California National Guard’s decision.

“What the California National Guard said, and what we’ve said in our lawsuit, is that the military ought to treat them just like every other service member,” said Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director of Equality California. “California will always champion the values of freedom, equality, and fairness – even when the president fails to.

After a rough period in 2017, the Trump Administration’s anti-transgender ban for the armed forces came back in force in January right on the heels of the government shutdown.

Director of the LGBT Resource Center Kaitlin Legg shared her observations of the ban’s return and its fallout for LGBT members in the armed services.

“There’s estimates that between 13,000 and 15,000 transgender people are currently openly serving in the armed forces,” Legg said, “So the reason this is on the news again is that on Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided that they were going to put some of those injunctions on hold, which would mean, again, transgender people cannot serve.”

For the time being, though, the Supreme Court has not made any further decisions over the case. For the LGBT community this means that thousands still risk losing their jobs. For Legg, who mentioned a prior study by the Department of Defense that found no major negative consequences for transgender people to openly serve, it also means more polarization in an already charged political climate.

“The only answer [to why this is coming back] I can think of is that transgender people’s lives have become incredibly politicized,” Legg said, “So there’s often two camps: there’s the one side of the fence that says we need trans inclusion now, this is fine, and the other side of the fence, which I think are the people President Trump is trying to appeal to, believe that trans folk shouldn’t have equal access to those rights.”

With this and the government shutdown in mind, Legg also mentioned that this is the first time that a president reversed a decision to integrate a minority population into the military.

“If you think back historically, to the integration of black troops within a predominantly white – at the time – military, the integration of women as well as the integration of lesbian and gay folks when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed, none of those things were reversed. So, this is a big move.”

However, Legg remains optimistic that in the long term, people will move in support of the LGBT community and deny the ban.

Days after the Supreme Court backed a Pentagon ban on transgender troops serving openly, an active-duty transgender sailor will appear as a guest of honor at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Winters will be the guest of Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, at the State of the Union on Feb. 5, according to a release from the congressman's office. Winters, 30, was a plaintiff in a lawsuit by the organizations Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN challenging the ban.

The policy approved by then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year was not the across-the-board prohibition proposed by Trump via Twitter in 2017, but would keep most openly transgender individuals from enlisting and limit the ability of currently serving transgender troops to come out and transition.

Winters, now assigned to the carrier George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Virginia, is a constituent of McEachin's who has been vocal about her position, giving interviews to PBS and The Associated Press, among others, about her position.

"I do my job to the best of my ability every single day and will do that as long as I'm able to," she told the AP in January. "I recall how I felt the first time I put on the uniform. I genuinely wish that upon any American who wishes to serve."

In a release, McEachin said he wanted to recognize Winters for her service in the Navy and give more visibility to other transgender service members.

"As many as 15,000 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military, and they deserve our utmost respect and gratitude," he said in a statement. "Unlike our current commander in chief, I will always support and defend the brave members of our military."

On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court released a 5-4 decision that it would not take up three cases challenging the proposed ban. Several lawsuits continue in lower courts, however. The Pentagon has yet to begin enforcing its transgender policy as one nationwide injunction against it remains effective, tied to an ongoing case in Maryland Federal District Court.

Winters told the AP she would abide by the Pentagon's transgender policy if enacted, but hoped for the opportunity to remain in uniform.

"I want to tell you I stand steadfast and hold my head up high, but it is a little difficult," she said in the interview. "The president of the United States is my commander in chief. If they called for the end of transgender service, if it's a lawful order, I would have to obey it. But I truly want to continue serving my country."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a new bill that requires public schools to teach LGBT and disability-inclusive material.

According to CNN, the measure is modeled after a similar bill passed in California in 2011.

The measure requires that state boards of education must add instruction that accurately portrays “the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, where appropriate.”

“LGBTQ+ history is part of our shared story, and students deserve to know it. Proud to sign a bill that makes New Jersey the second state in the nation to require an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in our schools,” Murphy said in a tweet.

“Young people are learning about LGBT people already in schools but their identities are hidden,” Christian Fuscarino told CNN. “Figures like Bayard Rustin, who was the right-hand man to Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights, was a gay man.”

Fuscarino is the executive director of Garden State Equality, which advocated for the bill over several assembly sessions.

The material will be included in the social studies curriculum for middle and high school students starting with the 2020-2021 school year.

The law will not effect private schools.

To the editor: I remember back in the 1990s, a display was put up celebrating members of and bringing light to the LGBTQ community. This was put up at the library. There was an uproar from some Fairbanks residents, which led to a protest to take the display down. I attended a peaceful counter-protest at the same time. I was 16. This was my first time hearing the hatred for the LGBTQ community. I was floored. I had never seen such hatred toward other human beings simply for them having a different sexual preference or gender identity.

 

I’m writing this letter today to show my support for Ordinance No. 6093. I’m doing it because of what I saw all those years ago. I believe people should not be discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. I’m here today as one human being supporting other human beings in their endeavor to simply live their lives, to help ensure they are protected from discrimination like the kind I saw when I was a teen and have seen many times since. We already have ordinances like this; they have been proven to work in Juneau and Sitka. I would like to see it here as well.

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