A Massachusetts native and soldier will be among those closely watching President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday.
Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, who is transgender, has been deployed to Afghanistan three times.
Last year, the president announced plans to keep transgender individuals out of the military.
“I thought to myself, ‘What am I going to wear?’” King said as she prepares for Tuesday.
King will attend the speech as the personal guest of Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA).
“For him to reach out to me and offer me this opportunity, for us to have these similar ideals as it applies to transgender rights – it’s amazing to have such an advocate on your side,” she said of Kennedy’s invitation.
King was the first openly transgender infantry soldier. In November, she said, she became the first service member to have their gender reassignment surgery approved and paid for by the U.S. military.
This week, the Cape Cod native will sit before a president who doesn’t believe she and others like her should serve at all.
“We’ve been here for quite some time,” King said. “Many of us have been serving openly with honor and distinction, and that’s anybody really wants, is the ability to serve our country.”
She hopes her presence in the House chamber will serve as a visible reminder of her unwavering support for her country and the never-ending fight for equality.
“I’m proud to be able to go and be a representative of the transgender community,” King said. “I’m proud to be there and be a part of this process and I hope that gives others hope for the future.”