Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Since the election of President Donald Trump, he and his administration have attacked the transgender community — attempting to ban them from military service, and strip away their rights currently protected under federal legislation. Approximately 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender.
On Veterans Day, Equality California and Coors Light honored local transgender veterans and military members at Uptown Tavern. This year’s honorees are veterans Zander Keig and Veronica Zerrer, and active duty service member Akira Wyatt.
Coors Light’s Tap Into Change program donated $25,000 to Equality Federation. With this funding, it will support its member organizations to build larger campaigns, hold leadership development trainings and strengthen volunteer effort.
Andrea Cubitt, Equality California’s board director, said that this recognition of transgender equality in the military was special on Veterans Day, as Nov. 11 also marked the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. Cubitt said as a British immigrant, she recognizes the value of a strong military and the bravery of active duty service members and veterans that utilize their lives to protect America’s freedoms to this day.
“Never forget the brave sacrifices that some of our veterans have sacrificed [made] for us in the course of protecting us,” Cubitt said. “As Americans, we have so more many things that unite us than divide us. It is important to keep sight of the core values of the America we cherish. Equality for everyone, justice and opportunity.
“Tonight we are here to celebrate our brave active duty and veterans that continue to be strong advocates to the community and relentless fighters for LGBT rights for our community and to step up and make amazing things happen,” Cubitt continued.
Zander Keig said he was also thankful for the recognition, and especially proud to represent the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I just want to say thank you to the service that gave me a lot. And from that, I’ve gone many, many places and done many things,” he said.
U.S. Army veteran Veronica Zerrer said that the Army taught her values that she can always take with her.
“Those values are trust, respect and the values embodied in the U.S. Constitution,” Zerrer said. “Nobody that is serving in the military is not wanting to have their lives taken, but if it is taken, there is no better way than in serving the Constitution. Those are ideals that all of us share, all of us live and breathe when we walk outside. For this honor, I feel very humbled.”
Akira White, active duty U.S. Navy hospital corpsman, said it was important to know that the LGBT community is well represented in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“As an active duty service member, I wanted to let everybody know that we are here,” White said. “We are still going to fight for equality regardless of what’s going to happen in the future. Thank you to the veterans that have gone before me. They have taught me a lot.”
MillerCoors works to promote equality by donating a percentage of sales to nonprofits in support of LGBT communities nationwide. It works with local bars and restaurants to promote equality and the advancement of diversity and inclusion.
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at email@example.com.