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Local transgender veteran shares story

In light of landmark elections Tuesday night where two transgender women made history, and ahead of Veterans Day on Saturday, we are sharing the story of a local transgender veteran.

Laura Meeks served our country as an United States Air Force pilot and retired as a Major in 1995.

Read: Veterans Day events in the Coachella Valley

At the Healing Field in Cathedral City, Meeks reflects on her time in the Air Force.

“I flew B-52 Bombers for a living. And I was actually a navigator, a bombardier, a co-pilot and a pilot. I’m actually one of 25 people who is qualified in all four seats,” said Meeks.

Meek says she made the transition after she left but identifying as a woman never affected her ability to do her job while serving.

In July, President Trump announced in a tweet that he would not “allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity” citing “tremendous medical costs.”

He followed that tweet with an official Presidential memo. However, a federal court ruling in late October blocked his ban.

Despite efforts by the Trump administration to ban transgender people from serving in the military, Meek remains positive about the fact that gender is being discussed there.

“To be in America and to craft up the land of opportunity, which I have fought for, and all of these people, all of these flags that represent people that have fought for our right to be free. That covers the entire gamut. That covers everybody, from President Trump to be who he wants to be and every other American who wants to be who they want to be because people stepped up to make the sacrifice.”

The Transgender Community Coalition said there are roughly 15 transgender active and veteran military people living in the Coachella Valley.

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