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The Senate confirmed two women from the gay and transgender community to top military positions, a historic move.
Gina Ortiz Jones, who is a lesbian, was confirmed to be the undersecretary of the Air Force, making Jones the first out lesbian to serve in the role of undersecretary of any military branch. Shawn Skelly will serve as the assistant secretary of defense for readiness, making Skelly the highest-ranking out transgender defense official in the country’s history.
Both were confirmed with unanimous consent Thursday.
Jones, who has about 15 years of military experience, is an Iraq War veteran and military officer who worked as a national economic security adviser under the Obama and Trump administrations before resigning in 2017. She served in the military during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era.
Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth congratulated Jones on her confirmation, saying that “she is the ideal person to advocate for the well-being of our Airmen, Guardians and their families.”
Skelly, a 20-year Navy veteran and the founder of an organization that advocates for gay and transgender people in the national security profession, was appointed as the special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics in the Department of Defense in 2013. Skelly was the first transgender veteran to be appointed by a president of the United States, according to Out in National Security.
Skelly is the second openly transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate behind Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: Senate confirms two LGBT women to military positions in historic firsts