Date: August 4, 2017
Media Contact: Sue Fulton
SPARTA Statement on Draft White House Guidance
Washington, DC – SPARTA, the largest organization of transgender Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, released the following statement in response to draft Presidential guidance that would purge transgender service members from the US Armed Forces:
About SPARTA: Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. SPARTA’s membership includes over 600 transgender Americans actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for “Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All.”
Blake Dremann Announced as New President of SPARTA
Fulton and Robinson Step Down Following Transgender Military Policy Victory
Washington, DC – SPARTA, one of the leading advocates for transgender military service, today announced Blake Dremann as the new Board Chair and President of SPARTA, and the addition of three new Board members: Jennifer Peace, Laila Ireland, and Danyiel Brustmeyer. Well-known advocates Allyson Robinson and Sue Fulton are stepping down from leadership, Robinson leaving the Board, and Fulton leaving her position as President.
Army veteran Robinson served as SPARTA’s Policy Director, and led the strategy for repeal of the US military’s transgender ban, working with other advocacy organizations and the Obama administration to achieve what many considered an impossible task. She became the first transgender person to lead a national LGBT rights organization when she was appointed Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN. She has been a leader in SPARTA since 2013.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 26, 2016
Media Contact: Sue Fulton
SPARTA Hails Lifting of Transgender Ban
Largest Organization of Transgender Military Members Releases Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Implementation
Washington, DC – SPARTA, the largest organization of actively-serving transgender military members today celebrated the Pentagon’s announcement confirming that transgender Americans will be able to serve their country on equal footing with other service members.
“Secretary Carter today fulfills his promise that every American who is qualified to serve will be allowed to serve, said former Army Captain Sue Fulton, President of SPARTA. “The thousands of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen – and their commanders – have one less burden on their shoulders today. We are grateful to the military and civilian leaders in the Department of Defense who worked so hard to get this right.”
“Thanks to our leaders, this policy change allows transgender service members to continue to serve the greatest military in the world, fully acknowledged by their fellow troops,” said Navy Lieutenant Blake Dremann, SPARTA Board member. Dremann serves in the Pentagon.
“I have always been proud to be a Soldier,” said Army Captain Jennifer Peace, “but the inclusion of transgender service members makes me even more proud to serve.”
“As a retired Army sergeant major, Airborne Infantry, and a transgender woman, I am proud of our leadership and our Armed Forces today,” said SGM (retired) Jennifer Marie Long. “Transgender Americans like me are competent, capable soldiers, and now they no longer have to pretend to be someone else.”
Brynn Tannehill, primary author of SPARTA’s comprehensive guide to transgender military service (link below), had this to say: “This has been long fought for, and long-awaited. Through it all, members of SPARTA have exemplified the honor and professionalism which our country has come to expect from its military. I am proud of what they have accomplished, and look forward to seeing all they accomplish going forward serving openly with dignity, honor, and pride.”
Tannehill is an Annapolis graduate was a Lt. Commander in the US Navy.
Here is a link to a 147-page Implementation Guide outlining each of the issues in detail, with supporting references to the many other military and similar organizations that have successfully integrated transgender people. This document was provided to the Department of Defense over a year ago, to provide information and education.
About SPARTA: Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. Our mission is to advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT service members, veterans, and their families. As a membership organization, SPARTA exists by and for the LGBT military community. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for “Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All.”
New Army Secretary Will Be Highest-Ranking Gay Official
Washington, DC – SPARTA responded with relief and congratulations to yesterday's news that the Senate finally confirmed Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army. This confirmation has been held up for reasons completely unrelated to Mr. Fanning’s outstanding qualifications.
"Eric Fanning is one of the most qualified nominees ever for this post; this is s good day for the Army,” said Sue Fulton, Chairwoman of SPARTA’s Board. “He represents the principle that those who are otherwise qualified to serve should not be disqualified for reasons of prejudice. The issue of transgender service is still unresolved, and we look forward to working with Secretary Fanning to address this ongoing issue quickly and effectively. Commanders and their troops have been in limbo for months waiting for the policy, and further delay only causes harm to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who wish serve honestly and openly with honor and dignity. ”
SPARTA is an organization of LGBT people who currently serve or have served in the military and our families as well as veteran and uniformed allies. We are a membership organization, built by, for and with members from all parts of the LGBT military community.
HON Brad Carson Recognized for his Service
SPARTA Hails Undersecretary’s Accomplishments in Defense Department
Washington, DC – SPARTA today recognized the service of Honorable Brad Carson, who stepped down today as Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Carson had previously served as Undersecretary of the Army. Sue Fulton, Army veteran and President of SPARTA, issued this statement.
“Brad Carson’s service in the Pentagon has been extraordinary. In many ways, military personnel policies are designed for men with stay-at-home wives; Carson’s willingness to take on institutional inertia - supported by military leaders with vision and daring - means that our Armed Forces will be stronger and more flexible going forward. Carson’s courage in tackling maternity leave, reproductive technology, lactation rooms, retaining transgender troops, and other tough issues will pay off in retaining some of the top talent that drains from the military’s middle-manager ranks.
The contributions of this visionary leader will live on in tomorrow’s Armed Forces. We at SPARTA thank Mr. Carson for his friendship and his selfless service.”
Dawson’s Project Highlights Transgender SPARTA Members and Allied Service Members
Washington, DC – Ms. Fiona Dawson, a longtime friend and supporter of SPARTA who has documented the journeys of transgender service members, is one of the LGBT artists who will be honored by the White House on Monday as a “Champion of Change.” Dawson is being honored specifically for the film Transgender, at War and in Love, about SPARTA members Logan Ireland (Air Force) and Laila Villanueva (Army), commissioned by the New York Times and produced by Dawson in partnership with SideXSide Studios.
The short film can be viewed at www.bitly.com/loganandlaila.Read more
Inaugural Veterans Awards Presented by “Mission Complete” Honor Organizations in Five Categories
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 12, 2015
Washington, DC – In last night’s first ever Veterans Awards Ceremony, “Mission Complete” presented SPARTA with the top award in the category of LGBT Veterans. The other four categories were: Veterans Mental Health, Veterans Community, Women Veterans, and Homeless Veterans.
Over five hundred organizations were nominated, and narrowed down to three finalists in each category. Winners were selected based on their impact on veterans; SPARTA was honored primarily for its leading work in supporting transgender service members and veterans. More information on the Awards can be found at TheVeteransAwards.com.
Sue Fulton, SPARTA’s President, accepted the award alongside Board Member Navy Lieutenant Blake Dremann. Ten SPARTA members and allies joined them at the event.Read more
SPARTA Hails Report that DOD Will Allow Transgender Service
Six Months “More Than Enough Time” To Revise Policies
Washington, DC – SPARTA, one of the leading advocates for transgender military service, hailed today’s report that the Secretary of Defense will commission a Working Group to revise policies so that transgender service members may serve openly rather than in silence. The Working Group is scheduled to complete its task in six months.
“This is a tribute to the honorable military service of thousands of transgender Americans. There is much more to do, but the Secretary’s clear intent to treat transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with the same dignity and on equal footing with other service members aligns with the core values of our Armed Forces,” said Allyson Robinson, Army veteran and SPARTA Director of Policy. “We stand ready to provide resources to the Working Group for the regulations changes required to take care of all the troops.”Read more
White House Pride Reception to Include Transgender Military Attendees
Air Force Authorizes Exception for Logan Ireland to attend in Male Uniform
Washington, DC – Six SPARTA members will be attending the White House’s annual LGBT Pride Month Reception.
Two actively serving transgender service members will attend the Reception on Wednesday, June 24. Upon receiving his invitation, Air Force Senior Airman Logan Ireland notified his command, who authorized a policy exception to allow him to attend in male dress uniform.
Ireland recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was treated as male; because he was identified as female when he joined the Air Force, regulations currently require him to abide by female uniform and grooming standards.
Ireland is attending with his fiancée, Army Corporal Laila Villanueva, who will attend in civilian clothes.
Four transgender military veterans will also attend the Reception.
Army Colonel (Retired) Sheri Swokowski;
Navy Lt. Cdr. (USNR) Brynn Tannehill;
Former Marine Sergeant Devon Allen; and
Former Army National Guard Specialist Bryce Jordan Celotto.
SPARTA Director of Membership/IT Manager, Christopher Hooper, sends this message of thank you to everyone. He also announces SPARTA request and calls upon the Department of Defense for a DoD wide solution on Transgender Discharges. Christopher Hooper also offers thanks to all the commands out there that are celebrating LGBT Pride month. He also asks for your questions. Please feel free to email him at email@example.com with any questions or comments about SPARTA.Read more