MilPride – An AMPA Program for Military Families with LGBT Kids
“For Our Pride and Joy”
AMPA is proud to launch a brand new program dedicated to military families with LGBT youth — MilPride. Led by Amanda Brewer and Jess Girven, two mothers of transgender girls, along with Jess’ mother Mary, MilPride is committed to ensuring no matter where you are stationed, you and your family never feel alone. The new program is designed to be a resource and support network helping these modern military families navigate the unique challenges of military service.
Are you part of a military family with an LGBT child? Get connected to our MilPride support network on Facebook.
Meet our program managers:
Mother of a transgender daughter
Amanda Brewer has been a military spouse for over 15 years. In 2015, Amanda’s second child Jennifer came out as transgender. At that moment, Amanda knew she must be the best advocate she could for her child. She started by speaking out at local school board meetings in favor of inclusion for all children. One of the hardest times for Amanda was when the Trump-Pence administration rescinded federal guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination in February 2017, but it fueled her passion to help protect these children who longer had the backing of the federal government. With military families stationed across the country and around the world, Amanda is committed to advancing consistent policies to help these families deal with multiple moves.
Mother of a transgender daughter
Until recently, Jessica Girven and her family were stationed in Germany for the last 8 years. After her daughter Blue came out as transgender in mid-2016, Jessica became her fiercest advocate. Living as an American family abroad, subject to the many inconsistently enforced regulations impacting military families’ access to education and healthcare, presented unique challenges to her family. First, when Blue’s affirming school environment was taken away by the superintendent of her Department of Defense (DOD) school, Jessica worked with AMPA and other advocates to push the Office of the Secretary of Defense to establish a clear policy of acceptance and affirmation across all DOD schools worldwide. When the affirming policy was reversed after the 2016 election, she fought to ensure that the DOD schools on their base in Germany did not change their level of support for LGBT students. Jessica has fought for appropriate transgender-related healthcare for Blue and all other transgender children stationed with their families overseas. In July 2017, Jessica and Blue traveled to DC and met with numerous Members of Congress to highlight the inconsistent access to transgender-related healthcare at military treatment facilities. Blue, herself, even met with many members of the House Armed Services Committee. Numerous media stories reflect Jessica’s willingness to be a voice for her daughter, and for military families who face discrimination because they are LGBT.
Grandmother to a transgender girl
Mary is retired now, but spent most of her career designing and building websites for U.S. government and international organizations. Mary is Jessica’s mother, and she joined her daughter and transgender granddaughter Blue on a trip to Washington DC in August 2017 to fight for Blue’s right to medical care — which had been denied by the US military in Germany.
While driving back to Amanda’s house in Virginia after dinner in July 2017, Amanda and Jess and their daughters started brainstorming ideas about how to further support the cause we are all passionate about — raising Pride children in military families — and Mary saw a perfect opportunity to help through MilPride.