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Readers React

Pro and con on the military's transgender ban

To the editor: Thank you for publicizing the U.S. military's ban on transgender service members and that it is based on outdated, inaccurate information. ("It's time to end the ban against transgender soldiers," Editorial, July 23)

I am a former Army infantry colonel who is transgender. I transitioned eight years ago and immediately lost my job as a government contractor and lead instructor at the Army Force Management School at Ft. Belvoir, Va. I went on to serve 21/2 years as a senior analyst at the Pentagon and three years as a regional human relations director with the U.S. Forest Service.

On June 5, with other transgender veterans, I sat in the Pentagon Auditorium at the Department of Defense's third annual Pride event. Though progress is evident after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," there is much work to do on behalf of the 15,000-plus transgender armed forces members currently serving and many more who have served.

Sheri A. Swokowski, DeForest, Wis.


To the editor: I have no objection to the military enlisting transgender individuals if they otherwise qualify. But I do object to spending money helping them achieve whatever they may deem their appropriate gender selves.

The ludicrous example of Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning causing the military to spend money to make her feel gender congruence certainly shows that the Army, at least, has no business allowing transgender enlistees at this time. When the miliary can make sensible choices in the expenditure of budgeted defense funds, the ban may be revisited.

John O'Donnell, Los Angeles

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