Capt. Jennifer Peace expected a certain amount of relief from Thursday’s announcement that the Pentagon had lifted its ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
But Peace found herself profoundly moved as she watched the announcement on TV at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where she is an intelligence officer.
Transgender people have served honorably in the military for years, Peace told The News Tribune.
“To hear that validated by the secretary of Defense, it was an incredible feeling,” the transgender woman said. “It had a lot more impact than I anticipated.”
The Spanaway resident told her story of finding her true gender identity and her experience as a transgender person in the Army to The News Tribune in October.
At the time, Pentagon officials were working to rewrite policy on service by transgender people.
Peace said Thursday her experiences at JBLM have been positive. She’s seen first and foremost as a hardworking soldier with two combat deployments, she said.
“I’m in a good place,” Peace said. “I’m being treated fairly.”
Thursday’s announcement should help pave the way for other transgender people in the armed forces to be treated the same way, she said.
“If you can pull the weight, if you can do the work, I don’t think any of the rest of that matters,” Peace said.
She said she’d been too busy Thursday morning to gauge reaction to the announcement on post, but she predicted what her own boss’s would be: “Great, you can serve openly. Now we’ve got two more meetings to get through.”
The News Tribune story from Oct. 4, 2015, on Capt. Jennifer Peace can be found at bit.ly/1L8kQ4f