Wednesday the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel held hearings regarding the Trump administration's reinstated ban on transgender servicemembers. One of the newly appointed members of the committee in attendance was New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland. In November, Haaland became one of two Native American women—both Democrats serving in the House—who made history as the first ever elected to Congress.
Kansas Representative Sharice Davids, Ho-chunk, and Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, share another commonality: both are the children of career military members. Davids' mother served in the Army while Haaland's father did 30 years in the Marine Corps and Haaland's mother was a member of the Navy.
That service is important to Haaland and Native culture as a whole. Natives serve in the United States Armed Forces in higher numbers than any other ethnicity—during peace and wartime—and have done so since the Revolutionary War.
RIGHT NOW: House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military is holding a hearing to examine this administration's har… https://t.co/wU9WKBCmSe— Rep. Deb Haaland (@Rep. Deb Haaland)1551303114.0
That cultural dedication to service and her own military family background framed the freshman Congresswoman's emotional response to transgender servicemembers that testified before the subcommittee.
Watch her remarks here.
“Regardless of what the president says, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞.” - a tearful… https://t.co/oqUHhWIzxl— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign)1551313157.0
.@RepDebHaaland sheds tears at House Armed Services hearing on #transgender serving in the #military as she thanks… https://t.co/2CUnilN4qY— D. Mills-Gregg (@D. Mills-Gregg)1551306736.0
“Transgender servicemembers honorably serve our country, and are not any different than any other service member,”… https://t.co/czK1bzAm8X— Out Magazine (@Out Magazine)1551381693.0
As she begins to speak @Deb4CongressNM gets choked up, noting her parents' military service. She wants the trans se… https://t.co/78cuMA69Zo— Zack Ford (@Zack Ford)1551306167.0
Reflecting on her own daughter being gay, @Deb4CongressNM tells the trans servicemembers: "Right now, if you tried… https://t.co/bUcxKq5XEq— Zack Ford (@Zack Ford)1551306262.0
Haaland also posted her views on her official Twitter feed.
The stories of transgender service members are just like any other service member – they come from families with tr… https://t.co/7tg7lxbsoZ— Rep. Deb Haaland (@Rep. Deb Haaland)1551303625.0
These service members deserve our gratitude, fairness and respect. #ProtectTransTroops https://t.co/2TSExd6cNv— Rep. Deb Haaland (@Rep. Deb Haaland)1551305158.0
Not everyone would make a decision to say, “I would die for my country”. I’m going to do everything in my power to… https://t.co/xIGQY2byJG— Rep. Deb Haaland (@Rep. Deb Haaland)1551306887.0
People applauded her commitment to transgender equality.
This *whole* thread. Again for people in back: our transgender siblings are NOT a threat, & shouldn't have to fight… https://t.co/SDPMsvPpdt— KimberlySimonAkins🏳️🌈 (@KimberlySimonAkins🏳️🌈)1551367184.0
@HRC @RepDebHaaland Yes! I am heartened by the new class of Congresspeople who are bringing palpable compassion to the office.— Acerbic Librarian (@Acerbic Librarian)1551320204.0
@HRC @RepDebHaaland I’m proud to be from New Mexico and voting her in was one of the best decisions New Mexicans could have made.— Dana Goldberg (@Dana Goldberg)1551337583.0
@HRC @RepDebHaaland Can we get more Native American members of Congress, PLEASE❓— Hawaii_LGBTQ/Seniors (@Hawaii_LGBTQ/Seniors)1551319052.0
This is not the first time the New Mexico Representative spoke out in support of transgender rights.
Haaland has been vocal about equality for transgender people.
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) put a transgender flag outside her office after the Supreme Court let Pres. Trump implement… https://t.co/lEeWf7Ez73— AJ+ (@AJ+)1548254815.0
Deb Haaland Just Made Her Stance On The Transgender Military Ban Ruling Crystal Clear https://t.co/WzJdpsdAJB https://t.co/vYAvAOtubh— hypervocal (@hypervocal)1548645278.0
“@Deb4CongressNM said a #transgender flag is ‘proudly’ on display outside of her office this week after #SCOTUS all… https://t.co/5vgN0wpoRx— Todd B. #IStandWithIlhan (@Todd B. #IStandWithIlhan)1548814721.0
Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, invited National Ce… https://t.co/Kanc5peKx5— NBC Out (@NBC Out)1549420201.0
Haaland met with transgender servicemembers before the subcommittee hearing.
Regarding the meeting she stated:
"We should be thankful to anyone who has decided to serve our country, but this administration has decided to single out a group of people for political reasons."
"Transgender servicemembers honorably serve our country, and are not any different than any other service member: they come from families in which service is a tradition, they go through the same training and abide by the same requirements, and they are actively serving overseas. They deserve fairness and respect."