Meet Jillian: Military Spouse, Mom, LGBTQ+ Advocate
Submitted as part of our Do Ask. Do Tell. Cause Campaign. Read More →
Q: What does Only Human mean to you?
A: When I think of Only Human, I think of a group of people that come together for the common good. It’s great to see people uniting to serve different causes and humans everywhere. The value and message they share is meaningful and so relevant, especially in the world today.
Q: How would you describe being the spouse of a military personnel?
A: Being a military spouse is something unique to say the least. You have the role as the support person behind the service member. It comes with its own set of rewards and challenges. It’s really great that my wife has such a specialized job with lots of amazing benefits whilst at the same time when work takes her away, it means that I hold down the fort and manage kids solo. It’s nice that Maggie’s military service comes with an instant community that can relate to your lifestyle.
Q: What are the best and the most challenging parts of being a military family?
A: Best parts would be the military community, benefits that help take care of our family, the feeling of pride and satisfaction that my wife serves our country and comes from a legacy of military service. The most challenging would be probably the time away from each other. Not only do I miss having her around, but our kids miss her too. There is always the bit of worry I have that she could get hurt on the job or have to be gone for a prolonged amount of time.
Q: What is the most rewarding and challenging part of being a LGBTQ+ military family?
A: When I look at our family, I see us like any other military family. The fact that we have a thriving and healthy family is rewarding. Although there may be some who think our family is odd or non-traditional, I consider us living our lives openly as an opportunity to help normalize families that look like ours. We aren’t the only LGBTQ+ family and we won’t be the last.
Q: What is it like to have the intersectionality of a multitude of identities such as being a person of color, in the LGBTQ+ community, and in the military community?
A: It’s a really interesting place to be in honestly. All of the communities I belong to come with such rich history. Black history, LGBTQ+ history, and military history. I feel having such a varied identity comes with responsibility. Honoring all the parts of where I come from whilst facing the state of things at the present and making sure our kids can learn to do the same as they become adults.
Q: How did you feel and what did it mean to you when transgender military personnel, members of both the LGBTQ+ community and military family, were being dismissed after the transgender military ban?
A: When I heard about it, it was saddening. I felt bad for those that want to serve but aren’t allowed simply because they want to affirm their identity. I believe that anyone that’s an upstanding citizen and wishes to serve or even lay down their life for their county should be able to. From a historical point of view we’ve seen the military become a more inclusive space for BIPOC and Women. My hope is that it will become an inclusive space for Transgender people as well.
Q: How can the community support LGBTQ+ individuals that are currently service members in our armed forces or veterans?
A: The best thing I can say is just to reach out. If you know an active duty service member or veteran, ask what you can do to support them. Reach out to their families and see if they need support if they have someone on deployment. If someone you know is coming out of the military, see what ways you can help with to ease the transition to civilian life. If you don’t know anyone associated with the military, reach out to organizations whose mission is to support our service members. We personally love the EOD Warrior Foundation, since Maggie is an EOD Tech and worked with them for a while down in Florida. Ask for opportunities to serve those who serve our country and tell a friend as well.