Prizm News / January 23, 2019 / By Jody Davis

Jody Davis has worked for over a year to prepare herself to rejoin the Ohio Army National Guard. Her plans are now in limbo as the Trump administration’s plan to ban military service by transgender Americans moves forward despite legal challenges. (Photo courtesy of Jody Davis)

Columbus veteran Jody Davis’ plan to rejoin the Ohio Army National Guard is left in doubt by a ruling on Trump’s proposed military ban.


By Jody Davis

As a 16-year-old high school student who was severely bullied for being “different,” I saw the military as a way of both finding a way to pay for college and an attempt at “manning up,” once and for all putting away all of these thoughts and feelings that I was really a girl, not the man that everyone thought I was.  

I served as an armor crewman and cavalry scout in the Ohio Army National Guard from way back in 1987 to 1995.  

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“While the Army taught me so much and did help me get through college, there was no way of stopping the fact that I really am a woman. My transgender self is something I didn’t fully embrace until much later, after so many failed attempts at being who I thought “God” wanted me to be. 

At this point in my life I’ve been out as a Trans woman since 2014, I am remarried and have three beautiful children in a blended family. My wife, Jen, is so supportive and defends me when someone even gives me a dirty glance at a restaurant. 

I’m working as a nurse and social worker, dedicated to helping the lgbtQIA population of central Ohio. For over a year now, I have been trying to meet the standards to rejoin the Ohio Army National Guard, this time as an officer and social worker. At both the local and national levels I have found support on my journey toward accession, as always finding that soldiers serve proudly and treat each other and potential recruits with dignity and respect. 

I’ve also felt the love and support from the Columbus community, as I worked hard this past year to get in shape, losing over 50 pounds, reducing cholesterol and my waist circumference to prove that I belong, that I can meet the standards the military sets for All women, whether cisgender or transgender. And I have met their requirements. 

For me, now that I’ve met all the requirements and received a waiver for a history of anxiety, I am on the brink of being approved to join. And then yesterday, yet another blow to the open and proud service to the country by Trans troops, this time from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled that the Trump administration’s effort to ban Trans Americans from the military can move forward while courts hear challenges to the proposed policy change. 

This is a direct result of our president’s appointees to the court, and it’s a huge step forward in discrimination of transgender people. 

I do not know for sure if my journey toward rejoining the military is now over. Soldiers go by the book, and there is no policy update yet. I hope I still have a chance to join. But I am hearing that, at least, all the transgender active duty personnel will be allowed to remain serving the country. That is a relief to me and to them. 

If you want to reach out in support of me and all of the trans people in Ohio who are trying to get into the military, I would suggest three things: 

• Contact U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. Brown, especially, has been supportive and a champion of Trans rights. Portman, the father of a gay son, favors LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.  

• Contact the Attorney General’s office at the Ohio National Guard. Ask me about this by emailing me at CallMeJodyCbus@gmail.com 

• Reach out to any of your family and friends who are Transgender, letting them know that you love and support them and are there for them when the rest of society is not. 

Jody Davis is a Cincinnati native, Columbus resident and Ohio Army National Guard veteran. You can read more about her experience here, or follow her personal blog, Call Me Jody, on Facebook.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown’s offices can be reached at 202-224-2315 (Washington), 513-684-1021 (Cincinnati), 216- 522-7272 (Cleveland), 614-469-2083 (Columbus) or 440-242-4100 (Lorain). Send him a written message through this link

Sen. Rob Portman’s offices can be reached at 1-800-205-6446 or at 202-224-3353 (Washington), 513-684-3265 (Cincinnati), 216-522-7095 (Cleveland), 614-469-6774 (Columbus) or 419-259-3895 (Toledo). Send him a written message through this link.