One has served in the US Air Force for nearly 20 years, another in the US Coast Guard for over a decade. Three others have served in the US Army for around 30 combined years, with service in Iraq and Afghanistan. All are currently active, all identify as transgender, and all of them are gearing up for a new battle—against their president.
The five women were among the thousands of US military service members who came out as transgender in July 2016, when the Department of Defense made its historic decision to permit transgender soldiers to serve openly. Now, the five service members—who are staying anonymous for fear of retribution—are suing President Trump and other top officials in the first-ever lawsuit challenging Trump's proposed transgender military ban. "We can defend transgender people in the face of this administration," Jennifer Levi, a lawyer on the case and the director of GLAD's Transgender Rights Project, told VICE News. "This is absolutely the start of a really important fight." Continue reading on VICE News.