This is Monica Helms, the creator of the trans pride flag. She's also a veteran who served in the Navy from 1970 to 1978.
On Wednesday morning, when President Trump tweeted that transgender people cannot "serve in any capacity" in the military, Helms was one of many trans veterans who reacted with anger and disbelief.
"What Trump did was strictly to serve his bigot followers and nothing else," she told BuzzFeed News. "Trans people have proven to serve well and without any issues, both in our country and several throughout the world."
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News and Transilient visited Helms at her home in Marietta, Georgia.
She explained that the idea for the trans pride flag came to her in 1999, after she spoke with the creator of the bisexual pride flag, Michael Page.
She took the flag with her when she marched with the color guard in at least a dozen pride parades.
Helms said she started to see the flag grow in popularity around 2013, after which she stopped taking the original flag out in public, fearing that something might happen to it.
To preserve the flag, she donated it to the Smithsonian Design Museum in 2014.
Helms felt that the colors "meant something to people." She intended the white stripe in the middle of the flag to represent trans people who don't identify with a binary gender.
During her free time, Helms builds model rockets in her "girl cave." She has dozens of launch videos on her YouTube page.
Her advice for young trans people? "Unite with each other. There's safety in numbers."
"Don't be afraid."
Branson LB is an LGBT video producer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Branson LB at email@example.com.
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