Transgender Air Force Veteran Describes Military Ban As A “Target on [Her] Back” September 8, 2017

Rebecca McDonald is a proud veteran of the Air Force, having served for seven years from May 1973 until August 1980 including time during the Vietnam War. She holds her service close to her, but was forced to keep her identity as a transgender woman a secret while she was on duty.


Since that time, she has completed her transition from male to female and is an open transgender woman, comfortable in her own skin. Today she remains active in a network of transgender veterans in the Boston area, attending community meetings and providing support to others. Over the years, McDonald was encouraged by the evolving policies in the military, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell under the Obama administration, which prohibited open service by LGB people. She was disgusted and disappointed to hear about the ban on transgender service by the Trump administration over the summer.

“We just lost everything we worked for. Everything. My personal feeling? Our president just put a target on my back because I’m transgender. It’s unfair and unjust. If you can do your job, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to serve.” —Air Force Veteran Rebecca McDonald

“I thought he was a traitor to every veteran out there and every service person serving our country right now,” McDonald said in an interview to NECN. “He’s the President. He just stabbed everybody in the back.”

She believes that President Trump’s tweets signify a major step backwards for the country and the military, which employs approximately 15,000 active transgender service members. Nearly one in five transgender Americans—21%—is serving or has served in the U.S. armed forces—over twice the percentage of the general population.
“We just lost everything we worked for. Everything. My personal feeling? Our president just put a target on my back because I’m transgender,” she told CBS Boston. “It’s unfair and unjust. If you can do your job, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to serve.”
As the Trump administration continues to roll back progress on transgender equality at the federal level, it’s more important than ever for Massachusetts residents to show that ours is a state that values fairness and freedom. Join Freedom for All Massachusetts’ campaign to defend our transgender nondiscrimination law on the 2018 ballot — and show America what our state stands for.
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