The Mission Continues stands in solidarity with the transgender community as its members struggle for recognition as equal citizens. The Defense Department’s implementation of a ban on service by openly transgender Americans runs counter to our core values, our experience serving and supporting LGBTQ+ veterans, and to recent research on force readiness and troop cohesion.
The Mission Continues was founded with five core values, of which “respect” remains the standard for all who serve with us. In our words and deeds, the value explicitly exclaims: We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and that they can make a difference.
Our experience is exactly that – through our work in under-resourced and under-represented communities, transgender veterans have been and continue to be critical leaders in the neighborhoods and cities that need their talents and skills.
Furthermore, we believe the ban is a step in the wrong direction and revives a devastating legacy of minimizing and dishonoring the service of LGBTQ+ veterans.
The Mission Continues will steadfastly maintain and defend our practices of inclusivity and affirming the rights, humanity and identity of transgender people and our LGBTQ+ veterans. We welcome and honor their service and authentic selves, knowing our communities and our country are stronger for their contributions.
I loved being a soldier and I am proud to be a transgender person. No one deserves to endure what I did.
I had the desire to join the Army as a result of two driving forces. The first, my grandfather was a disabled World War II Veteran who fell madly in love with my grandmother, an Army nurse who treated his wounds. As you can tell by that quick anecdote, military service was deeply rooted into my family’s framework.
The second motive to enlist was that I desperately needed to feel a connection to something. I needed some sense of belonging. I needed a community. My childhood was fairly grim and clouded. Being transgender but not being able to identify my feelings to an actual concept caused me to have crippling social anxiety and overwhelming sorrow.
I isolated myself, and fell into a deep, daunting, depression. It was as if I was drowning.
I needed to belong to a group and contribute to a cause larger than myself. I had no time to waste–I left home for the United States Army at the age of 17, a few days after my high school graduation.