Local military veteran applauds Biden’s reversal on military transgender ban
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s a win for the LGBTQ+ community, after President Joe Biden signed an executive order last month lifting Trump’s ban on transgender people to serve openly in the military.
Military veteran Sherrie Scaffidi, who is also transgender, said it’s the right move towards progress.
“With President Biden’s executive order so much is going to change in the (VA) Veterans Affairs, but also for those people who have already transitioned and want to join the military or those who are in the military and want to transition while they’re in,” said Scaffidi. “I think it’s fabulous!”
Scaffidi, a Navy veteran served during the Vietnam War for less than year, before being medically discharged.
“When I was in the military at 19 years old, it was a very tough time,” added Scaffidi. “In my own particular case, I was actually made fun of to the point where I wound up with an ulcer. I got a medical discharge because of that and I could not fulfill my dream of serving in the military.”
After conducting research for the Nevada Department of Veteran Services, Scaffidi estimates there at least 2,000 transgender veterans in Nevada.
“It’s so hard because there are still people in the closet,” said Scaffidi. “There could be very well be many more transgender veterans in the state but right now, we think there’s about 2,100.”
Which is why Scaffidi said acknowledgment and access to resources make all the difference.
“If you were discharged under “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” you got a general discharge not an honorable,” explained Scaffidi. “You can go to the VA and we are working to get upgrades to those veterans who were discharged under that policy to get them an honorable one.”
Scaffidi, who started her transition at 65 years old said a happy life is a fulfilled life and it’s never too late for a new start.
“We lose too many veterans to suicide everyday. People can contact me and I will be glad to sit and talk because sometimes that’s what we need to do,” said Scaffidi. “There are veterans who are disabled and you see the scars from those. Then there are other veterans like myself who have no physical disabilities, but we still have the scars.”
You can contact Sherrie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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