“Honored he’ll be my #SOTU guest.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced Monday that a transgender soldier will be her guest at the State of the Union address ― adding to the ranks of unfriendly faces the president will be speaking to.
Gillibrand, who recently joined the crowded race for the Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted that she was honored Navy Lt. Commander Blake Dremann, a trans man, would be joining her for President Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday at the Capitol.
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Patriots like Lt. Commander Blake Dremann—the first openly transgender servicemember to be promoted in our military's history, and the president of @sparta_pride—make our armed forces and our country stronger. I’m honored he’ll be joining me at the State of the Union. pic.twitter.com/hzjIiMll5U
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 4, 2019
Dremann, a decorated soldier who has been deployed 11 times, is the president of SPARTA, an LGBT Military Advocacy organization that educates service members on trans military policies.
Democrats have arranged for many other representatives of identity groups who have beef with Trump to be on hand at the State of the Union. Among them will be feminist lawmakers and immigrants who have criticized the president and his policies.
However, according to Politico, Trump has a counter-attack planned: He is telling conservative allies he wants to include firm anti-abortion language into his speech on Tuesday, and potentially to include an anti-abortion figure among his list of invitees.
Gillibrand also declared Monday in a press release that she will be introducing legislation to protect trans soldiers. She said the bill was a response to Trump’s “cruel” ban on trans service members, which was revived last month by the Supreme Court.
Breaking: @SenGillibrand will be bringing transgender Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann to this year’s State of the Union address.
She also will be announcing new legislation to protect trans troops soon.
Story TK pic.twitter.com/giiqjFPkHu
— Zach Stafford (@ZachStafford) February 4, 2019
Many liberals were seriously triggered by the high court’s overturning of lower court appeals, and Gillibrand’s appearance with a trans soldier was quickly cheered.
Gillibrand has sought to distance herself from her past more-conservative positions on guns, immigration, and Wall Street. But she has long been a supporter of LGBT causes, including same-sex marriage and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay soldiers.
A member of the Armed Service Committee, Gillibrand is not the only Democrat to promise legislation to protect trans people.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently has said she will use her new Democratic majority to advance the Equality Act, a bill that would codify protections against LGBT discrimination, including special guarantees for trans people to be regarded in federal spaces according to their self-identified gender rather than their biological sex.
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