Denise Sudbeck is a Vietnam-era veteran of the United States Navy. She served in the 1970s, and also was a part of the Naval Security Group with the submarine service. She now lives in Anchorage – where she played a big role in the campaign to preserve the city’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. Denise is also transgender – she was born male but frequently felt throughout her life like that didn’t quite fit, and so she came out in 2010 as transgender and transitioned to the woman she has long known herself to be.
Denise is a strong advocate for transgender people’s freedom to serve openly in the U.S. military. “Not only is it safer for national security, living as yourself helps you be a more effective person,” she said. “To allow transgender people to serve openly not only makes them better members of the military, it enhances the military mission. The freedom to be ourselves is part of what it means to be American and increasing openness in the military steps into a positive future.”