Lieutenant Shachar Erez, 22, is Israel's first openly transgender commander in the IDF. Although he now identifies as a man, Lieutenant Shachar joined the IDF as a woman. Throughout his military service, he went through the unique and complicated process of changing his gender. Throughout this process, he experienced support from his unit and commanding officers. His case also prompted the Israeli military to fast-track new protocols now in place that range from tolerance training for senior officers to ensuring that the military would cover the cost of hormone treatments and sex reassignment surgery.
Lt. Shachar (as he refers to himself) hopes that through sharing his story other transgender individuals with dreams of serving their country will gain the courage and strength to achieve their goals. As Shachar has stated, "this is not only an LGBT fight, but a fight for all people to be free."
Sponsor: JTConnect; Hall High School's Feminist Coalition, Action Club; The Consulate General of Israel to New England