Jason Lemieux served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry and three tours in Iraq. Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. He is currently a Legislative Fellow in a Congressional office. All views expressed here are his own unless otherwise noted.
Last year, a former Navy SEAL known as Christopher Beck came out as Kristin, a transgender woman, after 20 years of service in one of the most demanding, courageous, and tightly knit military units on earth. In a June 2013 interview with Anderson Cooper, Kristin articulated the effect of the U.S. military’s ban on transgender service: A life in the shadows, constantly suppressing one of the most fundamental aspects of her identity for fear of the shame, humiliation, and punishment associated with being discovered. In 20 years, she says, “no one ever met the real me.”