A Transgender Soldier pens President Obama – .@POTUS @OnlyShaneOrtega

Written by scott on June 10th, 2015

Sergeant Shane Ortega

 

Originally seen on MilitaryFreedomCoalition.org:

To the Honorable President, Mr. Barack Obama:

My name is Sergeant Shane Ortega. I serve in the United States Army and I recently stepped forward into the public light via the Washington Post – to show our country what an active serving transgender military member looks like. So here I am. I have been working on LGBT policy in the military almost as long as I have been serving. It has been ten years this June. Today, like it was before the repeal of Don’t As Don’t Tell I am still fighting against discrimination and lack of equal opportunity protections for all LGBT military personnel. Unfortunately this discrimination doesn’t stop there, it has also permeated into our national legislation as well. In many states it is a criminal act to be your “authentic” self and use a restroom, one of the most basic of human needs.

I joined the military of our nation because I wanted to be an active citizen. I felt that the American freedoms I was fortunate to be born into were not to be met with a sense of entitlement. I have always known that someone before me has suffered and possibly died to make them tangible realities. The good fortune of being born in a democratic country is that it shapes your entire destiny and the quality of life you may lead. Therefore I honor that privilege by serving and giving back to our nation and it’s people the best I can. That means also working on human rights issues for LGBT people; who are often the smallest of heard voices in the crowd. I swore to defend the Constitution. That means, liberty for all.

I created awareness on the negative affects of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and now I want to help open transgender military inclusion and LGBT Equal Opportunity protections. Our nation’s military has some of the finest human beings, which I consider lucky to have the good fortune to serve with. These heroes are highly adaptable and cohesive team players. Our military is a diverse group made up of members of our society from different backgrounds. We evolve with the base knowledge of our society and the global scenarios of combat arenas. That is what makes us the best trained military forces. Without fail the American military has always developed and used the right tool for the right task. We are more knowledgeable and powerful when we encompassed our different experiences and perspectives into a unit to accomplish a mission. The force has gone through desegregation, women’s inclusion, equal pay for both sexes, repeal of DADT and equality benefits for gay married couples – all ahead of the nation on this and not a single failure. We are a “no-fail” organization. As such we learn how to use the new tools we are given and we move forward to greatness. That is who we are. That is our American fighting force.

Sir, as I near the middle of my career, the question comes up – should I stay or should I go? Can I keep serving authentically? Can I continue to live the values of a warrior – integrity, honor and selfless service? Can I do this while I continue to be mis-gendered and without discrimination protections? I have kept my word, my honor and commitment true for ten years now. I want to continue to serve our nation to the best of my ability. We need immediate action on this issue for our service members and our citizens. Daily I receive correspondence from both active service members and citizens that just want to serve the country they love as the person they are. Some of the active service members are desperate, alienated, alone and suicidal. They range from field grade officers to new privates. Everyone is fighting an internal war that no one wants to speak up for. I love this nation and it’s people more than anything in the world. It’s all that I have to show for my time spent on this planet.

Mr. President, I beg you please use your power as Commander-In-Chief to immediately halt transgender military discharges and begin a review to repeal the transgender military ban. I respect your office to the highest extent and thank you for how far you have lead the LGBT cause.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela

Respectively and Sincerely,

Shane Ortega
SGT, US ARMY

 

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SGT Ortega is a three-tour combat veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a former Marine and current Army Soldier.

 

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ayla Quesada says:

    You have my support SGT Ortega. As do every other member of the LGBT community serving in the military. I will do what I can to help!

    Sincerely,
    MST1 Benavides
    US Coast Guard Reserve

  2. Kimberly says:

    You all have my support in the LGBT community that serve in the military actively as well as veterans! As a LGBT member myself I respect your honesty & the help you’re giving others in the community! I also want to thank you for your service.

  3. Kris says:

    SGT Ortega, as a transgender civilian, I am deeply thankful for your courage and commitment to serving our nation. You inspire me and give me hope for the future.

    Best Regards,
    -Kris.

  4. Derek E. Bellamy says:

    Keep up the fight , your courage is Inspiring 🙂
    “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

    ― Winston S. Churchill

    Sincerely ,
    An Inspired Atheist and Self Identified Demisexual

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