As a service-disabled war veteran,
I support transgender soldiers. Transgender soldiers match the honor and courage of all service members, and their bravery pioneers another frontier of integration. The experiences of gay, lesbian, women and black soldiers before them prove that change can come at high personal cost. And the social boundaries the transgender community face are often marked by violent normalization and marginalization.
I saw this firsthand at Fort Meade, as my company formed for physical fitness training across from the courthouse where then-Pfc. Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning) was being tried. Ultimately, her experience in Army imprisonment demonstrated how dangerous the treatment of transgenderism in the military can be. This cannot stand.
The transgender community is strong, and patriotism and selflessness will compel these soldiers into service undeterred. History will behold them with the gratitude and pride reserved for heroes of the two finest pillars of America, civil rights and national service. Joel Usher, Washington