LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As we continue our LGBTQ+ Pride Month coverage we’re exploring one man’s military experience and his transition.
Jay Cambridge joined the Air Force in 2008 and spent six years serving in military police and security forces. He traveled to more than 30 countries and had experiences he says will last a lifetime.
However, he says a big part was missing.
“When I joined the military, I joined as female. I was female assigned at birth and so my entire military experience was a woman,” Cambridge said.
His military experience had its ups and downs.
“During that time don’t ask don’t tell was still in play. So, it was very difficult for me to live an authentic and true life,” Cambridge said. “I identify as transgender now and identifying as transgender in the military was simply unheard of at that time.”
For Cambridge, coping became difficult.
“It was a struggle for me. You know I faced depression, anxiety, suicide ideations,” Cambridge said.
But his biggest supporter, his father, was there by his side offering support during his transition.
“Even when I couldn’t live boldly and out loud he always encouraged me just to stay true and don’t worry you’ll get through this, it will get greater later, “ Cambridge said.
He believes this type of support is crucial for the LGBTQ+ community.
“The statistics in the LGBTQ community specifically the trans community are very high with the suicide rate,” Cambridge said. “Just having that one person in your corner as your support system can be the difference between life and death.”
Sadly, his father passed away last year, but his life inspired Cambridge to give back.
“The shock was just another layer of trauma for me in a sense and I said what can do with all of this pain? And that’s when I decided to launch a movement,” Cambridge said.
He created the organization called The Intentional Movement.
“The movement is for individuals who are transitioning and who could be transitioning with gender identity or those transitioning out of the military,” Cambridge said.
Currently, Cambridge is carrying on his father’s positive outlook by providing support and community to those in need. He’s doing this by using the same therapy and life lessons he learned to help others walk their own path.
“I’m in a space now where I live boldly, I live proudly, I live true and I would like to use that to help inspire others to be their true authentic self,” Cambridge said,
President Joe Biden signed an executive order in his first week in office, lifting the ban on transgender people serving in the military which was put in place by the Trump administration.
In March, the Pentagon officially announced transgender troops may serve openly in the military and receive medical benefits for gender transitions.
More information on The Intentional Movement is available here.