My name is Valerie. I’m 16 years old, and I’m transgender.
While I was building up the courage to come out to my family and friends two years ago, my world was pulled out from under me.
A dream of mine had been crushed: I woke up and Trump had announced that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military.
See, I always hoped of growing up and serving in the military... just like my family had done for years before. I wanted to be a nurse in the Marines. I wanted to give back to the country that had given so much to me. A country that allows me to be out and proud. A country that, until two years ago, said I could serve in one of the most important ways: military service.
Today’s an especially hard day for me, because today, President Trump’s ban on transgender military service is actually going into effect.
Anyone currently serving who comes out as transgender will be discharged and removed, and there’s almost 15,000 transgender people serving right now that are at risk. It also means that from today on, no transgender person like myself who wants to step up and serve will be allowed to enlist.
That’s simply not the America I believe in.
There are places around the world where queer people like me could be killed just for being who they are. This ban only brings our country backwards with no purpose but to erase transgender Americans.
Fortunately, I still have my voice. So, I may not be allowed to serve, but I will continue using my freedom to speak out for what is right. I hope you’ll stand with me.
Please, click here to sign the petition: www.GardenStateEquality.org/transtroops
Thank you for listening,
PS: If you’d like to learn more about my story, read this article from NorthJersey.com!