Transgender Marine Says Military Ban, Repealing #TransLawMA Are Efforts to Publicly Erase Transgender People Nycii • Western Massachusetts

Nycii comes from a military family, so it was no surprise when she enlisted during operation Desert Storm. She did break with family tradition slightly though—instead of joining the Army as so many relatives had, she joined the Marines.

When Nycii enlisted with the Marines during her Junior year of high school, she had no idea what the word ‘transgender’ meant. She just knew there was something about herself that always felt different. She had hoped the culture of military service would “wring it out of” her, but that didn’t happen.

 

It wasn’t until the 2000s, when the internet began to explode with information about everything under the sun—including information about transgender people—that Nycii finally understood. She says that wealth of available information, and the increased visibility of transgender people, has made life at least a little easier for transgender people who are coming of age now.

She even has many transgender friends still in the military who can do their jobs more effectively thanks to the Obama Administration’s move to lift the prohibition on open service for transgender people.

And in Massachusetts, all transgender people—veterans and non-veterans alike—can breathe easier when they go out in public, thanks to the update to Massachusetts’ non-discrimination law that passed the legislature last year. It protects transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations like restaurants, parks, and doctor’s offices.

Before the law took effect, “It had been heartbreaking when my boys were always scanning the crowd for who would evict me when in public places. So it was refreshing when we didn’t have to worry any more.” —Nycii, former Marine

Before the law took effect, she said, “It had been heartbreaking when my boys were always scanning for who would evict me when in public places. So it was refreshing when we didn’t have to worry any more.”

“Those days were the real highlights for the transgender community,” she says. “We could openly serve in the military, transgender youth were getting protections. I really felt we had finally arrived.”

Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel that way anymore. She says transgender people’s progress in having their rights recognized is being challenged at every turn. The Trump Administration’s announcement that it would reinstate the ban on open service for transgender service members was an especially hard blow—and now, she’s facing the prospect that Massachusetts’ non-discrimination protections for transgender people could be repealed at the ballot box next year.

“When I see something like the trans ban come out, I think, ‘I’m a disabled vet, I signed up to protect the freedom of everyone here at home. Now, who is protecting my freedom? There’s nobody there. It’s a slap in the face.”

She says that while transgender people are supposedly being pushed out of the military because of “cost,” what doesn’t come up is how transgender people’s experiences in life can be a military asset.

“When I see something like the trans ban come out, I think, ‘I’m a disabled vet, I signed up to protect the freedom of everyone here at home. Now, who is protecting my freedom? There’s nobody there. It’s a slap in the face.”

“We’ve gone through a lot before even enlisting and had to fight for everything we have. Wouldn’t that be a trait that would benefit the military? Being willing and able to work through things to get the mission done?”

Nycii still feels that kind of respect in Massachusetts because of the state’s non-discrimination protections for transgender people. But even that is an area where the clock could be turned back on her rights. For nearly a whole year, she has been explicitly protected under Massachusetts law from discrimination in public places. But a mean-spirited ballot campaign is under way right now that would do away with these protections if voters don’t affirm them during the 2018 general election.

But for now, it’s comforting to know that if she ever encounters discrimination in public places in Massachusetts, she doesn’t have to take it. She can stand up to it, and the law is on her side.

Nycii knows firsthand how empowering it is to have the law on your side. Nycii lived in an apartment complex for 18 years with landlords who she knew would likely target her if they knew she was transgender.

“I paid my rent, but I didn’t advertise who I was, because I could be told to move, just for being trans.”

That changed in 2011, after Massachusetts updated its housing and employment non-discrimination protections to include transgender people. Nycii started to be more visible in the town she lived in and around her apartment complex. True to her fears, one of her landlords did have a problem with her being transgender. The landlord was very hostile, and intentionally mis-gendered her whenever they would interact.

“I said, ‘Well, now you can’t come against me.’ I filed a complaint against my landlord with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and won. Had it not been for the law, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

If the non-discrimination protections that keep Nycii safe from discrimination in public places are not upheld at the ballot box in 2018, she imagines spending a lot more time in the apartment she fought so hard to live in, since she would no longer be explicitly protected from discrimination anywhere else.

If Massachusetts’ non-discrimination protections for transgender people were repealed, “I would feel less safe. I would go out less. If we were to lose these protections, with the present climate of LGBTQ hate groups, if we didn’t have any protections, that wouldn’t leave me a whole lot of places to go. It would leave me a very small existence.”

“I would feel less safe. I would go out less. If we were to lose these protections, with the present climate of LGBTQ hate groups, if we didn’t have any protections, that wouldn’t leave me a whole lot of places to go. It would leave me a very small existence.”

That’s exactly what opponents of transgender equality are trying to do—erase transgender Bay Staters from public spaces entirely. If you’re committed to making sure that doesn’t happen, sign our pledge to uphold non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters at the ballot box in 2018.

SHARE
ADD YOUR VOICE
[fbcomments url=""]