Colorado Army captain celebrates Biden’s repeal of transgender military ban

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When the news broke Monday that President Joe Biden repealed the ban on transgender people serving in the military, Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik felt a weight was lifted from her shoulders.

“You just kind of get used to it until one day somebody’s like, ‘Hey, let me take that for you,’” Stehlik said.

Through 13 years of military experience — from West Point to Ranger school to a tour in Afghanistan — Stehlik has worked her way through the ranks to her current position as a physical therapist stationed at Colorado’s Fort Carson, where she began coming out as a transgender woman.

There are about 15,000 people serving in the military right now who identify as transgender, according to advocacy organization SPART*A. Following Monday’s executive order, prospective recruits will no longer need to hide their gender identity when they seek to enlist.

This story is being published partially online and in full in select print editions through an agreement with the Colorado Sun. Read the full story online at coloradosun.com.