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Transgender Woman Files Lawsuit Against Whitmer Because She Faces Military Discharge Over Gender Identity

CBS Detroit - Blaire McIntyre is a transgender woman who served in the Army, and currently is in the Michigan National Guard, and works for the Michigan National Guard as a civilian specialist. According to an article by the Detroit Free Press, Mcintyre has filed a suit against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan National Guard adjutant general Paul Rogers, and the Michigan director of Military and Veteran Affairs for being able to be discharged for her gender identification.

McIntyre served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan with the "Screaming Eagles". A unit that does airborne assault operations. She then joined the Michigan National Guard in 2015, working two-weeks per year and one weekend per month. When she was not on duty serving with the Guard, she was a uniformed civilian National Guard employee specializing in armaments. According to the Free Press, for her to keep her civilian job, she must keep her status with the Michigan National Guard.

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McIntyre, who was assigned as being a male at birth, but now identifies as female, has filed the lawsuit in a Federal Court in Grand Rapids, which claims the policy that forces transgender service members to be discharged from the U.S. Military is unconstitutional. This case is being reported as being significant as it challenges a policy change by President Donald Trump. During the Obama administration, transgender troops could serve openly, attorney Shannon Minter told the Free Press. President Trump reversed the Obama policy. Minter is the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

Credit: - Blaire McIntyre

Minter said to the Free Press, "A medical professional diagnosed Ms. McIntyre with gender dysphoria in November 2019. Ms. McIntyre informed her commanding officer of the diagnosis and her transgender identity soon thereafter." McIntyre "faces involuntary discharge from service and the end of both her National Guard service and her civilian career solely because she is transgender." said Minter.

In a statement to the Detroit Free Press McIntyre said, "I've proudly dedicated the past five years to the Michigan Army National Guard,". "My commanding officer, my civilian supervisor, and my peers rely on me to give my all every day and I want nothing more than to continue offering my best service. But the transgender military ban means I am not only facing discharge from the Guard but termination from my civilian job as well. My wife and I are raising two young children, and that loss would be devastating to our family."

McIntyre says not only do equal protections, and due process rights in the Constitution apply to her situation in allowing her to serve, the U.S. Department of Defense adopted this policy in 2016. According to the Free Press, the lawsuit alleges that policy changed when President Trump announced via Twitter on July 26, 2017, that he would reverse the Obama era policy. According to the Free Press, her lawsuit states "the United States military would return to discriminating unconstitutionally against transgender people solely because of their transgender identity,".

Minter says a new policy arose after Trump's tweets that allowed people who had already "come out" were allowed to serve. McIntyre's situation doesn't apply because she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2019. According to attorney Shannon Minter, McIntyre can seek a waiver from discharge if she has gone through gender change. However to do that she needs the health benefits from her military job. Which according to Minter leaves her in a "Catch-22".

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While there are other lawsuits to overturn the policy as unconstitutional, this lawsuit would only apply to McIntyre. It's also unique that the Governor and the Michigan National Guard are defendants. Minter says while Whitmer and the Guard are enforcing federal policy, they hope that the governor is sympathetic to her position and wants to settle.

According to Whitmer's spokesperson Tiffany Brown, the Governor doesn't comment on pending litigation. Blaire McIntyre is originally from Roscommon.

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© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from the Detroit Free Press contributed to this report.

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