Based on data from the Williams Institute at UCLA, roughly 15,500 transgender persons serve in the US military and 134,300 military veterans identify as transgender—though the actual numbers are certainly much higher. Should transgender service members celebrate the future of a more inclusive military—or prepare for a next administration to turn back the clock again?
In With Honor and Integrity: Transgender Troops in Their Own Words, Lt. Col. Bree Fram, who is serving openly as a transgender woman in the US Space Force, and her co-author, Máel Embser-Herbert, sociology professor and US Army veteran, explore the practical, social, financial, and medical concerns of transgender troops through the voices of transgender military personnel, past and present. They share honest, heartfelt, and often heart-wrenching accounts from 26 individuals who know what it is like to serve in the US military as a trans person.
BREE FRAM is a lieutenant colonel in the US Space Force who has held command at the squadron level, led Air Force security cooperation with Iraq, and led space acquisition programs. She is the President of SPARTA, a transgender military advocacy organization, and is currently the highest ranking out transgender officer in the US military.
She joins us today to discuss how transgender service members who had to conceal their identity for some or all of their time in the service were forced to balance the military’s professed values of honor and integrity against who they were; the challenges of medically transitioning during active-duty service—and the controversy over whether the government should cover the costs; the stereotypes and fears behind the argument that transgender service members are a disruptive presence in the military—and how sharing real-life stories can help to overcome them; and how a gender inclusive military better serves America—and whether a military without transgender people could someday be just as unconscionable as it is to think of today’s military without Black or women service members
For every American committed to equal rights and protection for all, With Honor and Integrity is a timely and vital read.
Listen to Lt. Colonel Bree Fram here: