Shane Ortega: The First Trans Person to Serve Openly in the Military | AfterBuzz TV’s LGBTQ&A

Shane Ortega talks about joining the military to fight the bans on LGBTQ people after seeing how hard it was for his mom (who is a lesbian) to serve during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He talks about building a queer and trans community in the military, the privileges he’s experienced due to the high value we place on masculinity, and his plans for the future.


LGBTQ&A is an interview podcast highlighting the different members of the LGBTQ community — artists, activists, lawmakers, and business people. LGBTQ&A is hosted by Jeffrey Masters and produced by AfterBuzz TV. Interviews are also filmed and available on YouTube.

AfterBuzz TV (Los Angeles, CA) is an online broadcast created by E! Host, Maria Menounos and producer, Keven Undergaro, and has over 23 million weekly downloads in over 150 countries. Nicknamed “the aftershow network”, when viewers finish watching episodes of their favorite shows, they can go to to watch or listen to a post-game after-show where hosts break down that night’s episode and interview cast and crew. The network produces over 90 aftershows per week.

Shane is a transgender, disabled and retired combat veteran. He transitioned in 2009 while actively serving. He is most known for his coming out article in the Washington Post which greatly helped shift the stigma of transgender military service. On July 20 ,2016 Shane was retired as a Staff Sergeant with eleven total years in two different branches of service. Those were the United States Marine Corps from 2005-2009, and then United States Army in 2009-2016. He served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghan theaters. He is a professional public speaker and an LGBT health educator.

Since 2008 Shane has set the bar high in accomplishing LGBT military equality. His first accomplishment was Co-founding a transgender specific Chapter for Outserve-SDLN (503c). He created this safe space for actively serving transgender military personal and later became it’s leader in 2008. 2010 was also a huge year for Shane, He was voted to board member of Military Freedom Coalition (503c) where he worked in aide of Joshua Block(ACLU) on the repeal of DADT, equal opportunity protections for LGB service members and he was hugely instrumental in lifting the ban for transgender military service. In 2013, Shane also co-founded SPARt*A- a non-profit LGBT military support group.

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