Trans veteran joins president-elect Joe Biden's transition team

Co-founder of Out in National Service and trans veteran Shawn Skelly will be evaluating the Department of Defence as part of Biden's transition team.

Trans veteran transition team

Trans veteran Shawn Skelly joins President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to evaluate the Department of Defence. 

Co-founder of Out in National Service Shawn Skelly has been named part of Biden’s presidential team. She will be evaluating the Department of Defence to ensure a smooth transition of power. 

In 2019, the Trump administration put into effect a ban on trans people serving in the U.S military. A memo from the Department of Defence ordered the discharge of 13,700 trans military services members. 

Following the announcement of the ban, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, Harper Jean Tobin, released the following statement, “The start of this looming purge represents an unprecedented step backwards in the social and civil progress of our country and our military.”

President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris have both pledged to reverse Trump’s discriminatory ban on trans people serving in the military. Appointing Skelly to evaluate the Department of Defence can be seen as a step towards achieving this goal. 

The newly appointed member of the transition team became the first trans veteran to be appointed by a President after she joined the Obama Administration in 2013. She has served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the U.S. Department of Defense, and ultimately as the Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. 

Co-chair of the transition team Ted Kaufman said, “Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change. We must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration to protect our interests at home and abroad.”

“The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day 1. The work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world,” Kaufman further shared. 

Throughout the US elections 2020, there was a clear demand for diverse voices in politics as the nation saw the rise of a massive rainbow wave. In another historic first, Martin Jenkins will become the first Black queer man appointed to California’s Supreme Court.

Jenkins’ nomination was confirmed on Tuesday, November 10, with a glowing review from the independent Commission on Judicial Appointments. Their report stated, “Justice Jenkins’ impressive 30-year record of professional accomplishment is equally matched by his strength of character, compassion, and integrity. He is praised for his brilliant intellect, first-class temperament, and boundless humanity.”

“Justice Jenkins embodies the qualities sought in a Supreme Court candidate: collegiality, writing ability, scholarship and distinction in the legal profession coupled with an unparalleled breadth of experience. Moreover, his compassion, humility, lifelong commitment to public service, and passion for justice make him a most deserving and worthy addition to the state’s highest court,” the report further expressed.

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