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Florida service member relieved by lifting of transgender military ban

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 22:50:03-05

WFTX - Sgt. Zane Alvarez grew up in Florida but now he's a long way from home - serving at a U.S. Army base in Germany.

"I have been serving since July of 2012," says Sgt. Alvarez in a Zoom interview with WFTX.

"I've been out and transitioning since January of 2016."

Sgt. Alvarez tells us he asked his superiors if there was an official change in policy when then-President Trump began tweeting he was banning transgender Americans from serving in 2017.

"And they said no," says Sgt. Alvarez.

"But (said) they were given guidance and it ended up creating a lot of confusion for myself and other transgender service members."

By 2019, Trump had made it official military policy.

Sgt. Alvarez says the ban went into effect before she could continue with a key part of transitioning.

"When that happened in 2019, I still hadn't had my gender marker changed yet," says Sgt. Alvarez.

"I had to be recognized as female - utilizing female facilities and go by female dress and appearance regulations as well as wearing a female dress uniform."

He says President Biden's decision to overturn the ban had an immediate effect.

"I have to say that the first thing that came to mind was just being completely relieved," says Sgt. Alvarez.

"I no longer have to worry about whether or not I'm going to be able to serve anymore."

" I can just continue to serve proudly," he adds.

"We are here, we have been serving and we will continue to serve."