Transgender Army captain: ‘Being silent is the most dangerous thing you can do’

Transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Peace on Wednesday called on fellow service members to speak up, saying “being silent is the most dangerous thing you can do” in the wake of a Supreme Court decision to allow the Trump administration to temporarily enforce its restrictions on transgender people serving in the military.

“If you’re hiding, if you’re scared, if you’re worried about the consequences and the impacts, it doesn’t matter, you’ve got to speak out because being silent and refusing to share your story is the most dangerous thing you can do,” Peace told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball during an interview on “Rising.”

Peace, who has served in the military for over 13 years and completed two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was outed in 2015 and was forced to officially reveal her new identity and transition while in the Army.

She said remaining visible is especially important during this period of uncertainty for many transgender service members, warning that staying silent is “ultimately what is going to kill us.”

“Visibility is so important, sharing stories is so important right now and if you are afraid of coming out and speaking then you’re not nearly afraid enough of the consequences of staying silent because that is ultimately what is going to kill us,” she said.

At the time, Peace said being forced to come out publicly was difficult, adding that her family received threats after her story garnered nationwide attention.

But she said this should not stop other service members from coming out and sharing their stories. The Army captain added that she has received support from other soldiers, including those in her own company.

“For the vast majority of them, they’ve been very supportive because they, like me, understand that if you aren’t willing to live up to your values and your morals and believes then you can’t be an effective officer,” she said.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Trump administration’s request to allow restricting transgender military service while that case makes its way through the federal appeals system. This would impact an estimated 15,000 transgender members who are currently serving in the U.S. military.

The Pentagon, however, said it cannot immediately implement any of the changes to its transgender policy due to a nationwide injunction on Trump’s order that’s still in place.

Activists, allies and members of the LGBTQ community have condemned the decision, saying transgender service members would be forced to hide part of their identity while they are serving the U.S.

Updated at 4:27 p.m.

—Tess Bonn


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