By Brad Swanson:
The Fairfax County Democratic Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday, May 21, to urge that Gov. Ralph Northam allow transgender troops to serve openly in the Virginia National Guard — not knowing that just a few hours earlier the Guard’s commander had confirmed it would abide by Pres. Trump’s transgender military ban.
The FCDC resolution (see text here) pointed out that transgender military members have served openly since 2016 and that all five military chiefs of staff have testified publicly that the open-serve policy has had no adverse effect on military readiness.
It called on Northam, who is the commander-in-chief of the state’s armed forces, to affirm that transgender troops may serve openly in the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Air National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force.
Karl Frisch, chair of FCDC’s LGBTQ+ Committee, introduced the resolution. “The Democratic Party values the contribution of our nation’s transgender service members,” said Frisch. “It is important that our party stand up for their freedom to serve.” (Frisch has also been endorsed by FCDC for the Providence District school board seat.)
But just a few hours earlier that day, the politically progressive news site ThinkProgress had published a letter from the Virginia Guard’s commander, Maj. Gen. Timothy Williams, stating that the Commonwealth’s soldiers and airmen, “must meet established Department of Defense (DOD) readiness standards.”
Maj. Gen. Williams, who is a gubernatorial appointee, wrote that, “The new DOD policy doesn’t ban transgender individuals from service,” but the news site called that incorrect, pointing out that the policy explicitly requires that military members serve only in their “biological sex.” By definition this excludes transgender soldiers, who do not identify with their assigned sex at birth.
After learning that FCDC’s resolution had been pre-empted, Frisch commented, “To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement.”
Brad Swanson is the editor of The Blue View. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org