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Saluting the power of transgender veterans

Veterans Day was November 11th. Unlike Memorial Day, when we remember those who’ve died while serving in the military, and unlike Armed Services day, when we honor those who are currently serving, Veterans Day recognizes all people - living and dead - who have served in the military.

The VA estimates that 134,000 U.S. Veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 trans people are currently serving in the U.S. military. It wasn’t until 2016 that the Obama administration announced that trans people were allowed to serve openly. Almost exactly one year later, President Trump announced - by tweet - that he was going to reverse that policy.

This hour, hear from an Army National Guard veteran about what it was like for him to experience that political whiplash.

Then, hear from a 99 year-old record-breaking pilot and WW2 Navy veteran who took on the Social Security Administration’s denial of survivor benefits for trans spouses and won. She went on to set world records for being the oldest pilot and flight instructor, and begin a foundation that helps seniors who are LGBTQIA+.


  • Jacob Eleazer is a veteran of the Army National Guard, and Director of Advocacy for SPARTA
  • Robina Asti was a 99 year-old transgender, policy-changing, record-breaking pilot and WW2 Navy veteran whose foundation, Cloud Dancers, grants wishes to seniors who experience discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. She died in March at age 99

Catie Talarski and Jessica Severin de Martinez contributed to this show.

Chion Wolf is the host of Audacious with Chion Wolf on Connecticut Public, featuring conversations with people who have uncommon or misunderstood experiences, conditions, or professions.
Jessica Severin de Martinez is a producer for Audacious with Chion Wolf.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
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