Transgender Navy, Army Vet Fights for National Guard Recognition - NBC4 Washington

Transgender Navy, Army Vet Fights for National Guard Recognition



    Despite Lifted Ban, Challenges Ahead for Transgender Service Members

    Caitlyn Jenner praised the Defense Department's move to allow transgender people to serve openly. One local service member said many challenges lie ahead. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports. (Published Thursday, July 16, 2015)

    Mia Mason served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was recognized for her bravery -- but as she rejoins the D.C. National Guard this weekend, she's fighting to be fully recognized as a woman.

    Mason served in the Armed Forces as a man, Michael Mason, and transitioned to living as a woman in 2010, she said.

    "I persisted and was able to get prescription hormones so I could further my journey into womanhood," she said.

    As Mason transformed, the military discovered her attempt to transition and she was discharged.

    "You are what we call transgender or transgenderisim, and we can discharge you on this," she said she was told.

    Mason was able to get a Social Security card as a female. And the Army agreed she was wrongfully discharged, she said. But she says the D.C. National Guard still identifies her as a male.

    She praised Defense Secretary Ash Carter's announcement this week that the Pentagon will examine current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military. But she said the Armed Forces still have a long way to go in determining transgender people are treated with dignity.

    "I have a voice and I want that to be shared," she said.