Congressman Pappas to host transgender veteran at the State of the Union

February 3, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Chris Pappas is bringing Tavion Dignard from Auburn, New Hampshire, as his guest to Tuesday's State of the Union address. Tavion, a transgender man, served in the United States Navy from 1998-2002 and was honorably discharged. President Trump's transgender military service ban would prevent qualified people such as Tavion from serving our country. Tavion is currently an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire.

As New Hampshire's first openly LGBTQ member of Congress and a co-chair of the Equality Caucus, Chris has spoken out against the ban and believes that transgender military service members and veterans are always welcome in the People’s House. A UCLA study from 2014 said there are more than 15,000 transgender Americans in active duty and 153,000 transgender veterans.

“President Trump's transgender service ban weakens and politicizes our military despite the ridiculous claims of improving military cohesion,” said Congressman Pappas. “I’m so glad Tavion will be with me to tell his story, share his truth, and stand as a warmly welcomed guest of the United States House of Representatives. As lawmakers, it's our job to hold the Trump Administration accountable for its discriminatory policies. Denying transgender Americans their right to serve this country is a disgrace. They deserve equal treatment by their government and the law."

"I thank Congressman Pappas for this unique opportunity to share my story and be a part of this incredible experience," said Tavion Dignard. "I came out as a transgender man because I wanted to live my authentic truth and because I wanted to be the person I needed when I was younger. Being denied that opportunity put up absurd discriminatory barriers and created serious trauma in my life. No transgender service member should have to suffer through uncertainty about the acceptability of their identity or feel pushed out of their job for expressing who they are."