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    Celebrating NCLR’s Everyday Heroes

    Our 2018 honorees are fighting with us to stop the Trump-Pence transgender military ban 

    Imagine reading an email from a friend that said how sorry she was and asked if there was anything she could do. But you didn’t know what she was talking about—until you checked the news. And then you saw that the President of the United States had just tweeted that you are a “burden” and a “disruption.” And in less than 1,000 characters, everything that you had been successfully working toward for nearly your entire life was taken away from you, for no reason other than who you are.

    That’s what happened to our honoree and transgender military ban plaintiff Regan Kibby.

    But he didn’t give up. Instead, he demonstrated the same strength and leadership that helped secure him a spot as a Midshipman at the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy—and he joined our lawsuit challenging the ban. So did our plaintiff Dylan Kohere, and so did many others, fighting for their futures and against the stigma and stereotypes fueling the ban.

    The stakes here could not be higher. If this ban were allowed to stand, that precedent would be used against transgender people in every context you can imagine, from family law, to immigration, to employment law and beyond. This is an extreme threat to our LGBTQ community. 

    Read more about our courageous plaintiffs:

    Regan Kibby

    Midshipman Kibby has completed two years of education at the United States Naval Academy with a double major in English and history. He was inspired to serve both by his father, a Navy veteran, and his early childhood years in San Diego, a military town with a large Navy base, before moving to North Carolina with his family. He stated that he has always felt that he has a duty to serve. In high school, he enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) and by junior year dreamed of attending a military service academy. Military service academies are extremely competitive and accept fewer than 10 percent of applicants. The Naval Academy, as do many other service academies, requires a Congressional nomination. After a competitive application process, Midshipman Kibby was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy.

    During his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy, Midshipman Kibby came out as transgender, shortly after the time that then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter issued an order announcing that transgender people could serve openly in the military. He followed protocol, informing his peers and his chain of command. If President Trump’s transgender military ban is implemented, Midshipman Kibby will not be permitted to complete the degree he has spent two years working toward or the career that he has spent a lifetime dreaming of and preparing for through years of JROTC.  

    Midshipman Kibby said that President Trump’s transgender military ban “ruins transgender servicemembers’ lives and ends the careers of trained, qualified members of our military for no reason other than who they are. After a lifetime of feeling a sense of duty and preparing to serve, reading Trump’s tweets was painful, and I saw my future crumbling.”

    Dylan Kohere

    Dylan Kohere is an eighteen-year-old first-year student at the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT. Kohere grew up in New Jersey and was inspired to serve by his grandfathers’ military service. His goal is to spend his entire career in the military. Kohere came out as transgender during his freshman year of high school, where he was supported by friends and family members and served as president of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. After President Trump’s announcement of a ban on transgender people serving in the military, he was barred from joining the ROTC Program, including being denied the ability to partake in physical training or ROTC labs. While Plaintiff Kohere has continued to take ROTC academic classes, he never enrolled in the ROTC Program because of the ban.

    Dylan Kohere said, “A big part of the reason I was comfortable coming out as transgender to the ROTC was the announcement in the summer of 2016 that transgender people would be able to serve openly in the military. I was so excited that I would be able to achieve my goal of serving while remaining true to who I am.”