WASHINGTON and LOS ANGELES – Following the White House’s announcement of President Trump’s plan to implement his discriminatory transgender military ban, spokespeople for Equality California — Plaintiff in the lawsuit Stockman v. Trump, which challenges the ban — are available as media resources regarding the status of the ban, transgender service members and ongoing legal challenges to the policy. Spokespeople are available for in-studio appearances in Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco or remotely by satellite or phone.
Please contact Samuel Garrett-Pate at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 476-3770 to schedule interviews and/or with any additional inquiries.
Equality California Spokespeople:
Rick Zbur, Executive Director (LOS ANGELES) — Rick Zbur is a distinguished lawyer with a long history of advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and environmental causes. Zbur retired from Latham & Watkins, one of the world’s largest and most respected law firms, where he was a senior partner and practiced law for 29 years. A lifelong LGBT trailblazer, Zbur was Latham & Watkins’ first openly gay attorney and first openly gay partner before leaving the firm in to lead Equality California.
Tony Hoang, Managing Director (LOS ANGELES) — Tony Hoang is the managing director for Equality California, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Prior to joining Equality California, Tony worked at the Pacific Council of International Policy and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He serves on the board of directors of the Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people.
Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director (WASHINGTON) — Valerie Ploumpis is national policy director for Equality California, based in Washington, D.C.. She is a political expert with more than two decades of experience in issue-advocacy campaigns, grassroots education and mobilization, coalition building, lobbying and media outreach. She serves on the board of directors of OutRight International Action, a global LGBTQ civil rights organization, and was board co-chair of the Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, a national PAC which endorses and supports LGBTQ political candidates and elected officials. Prior to joining Equality California, she was a principal at Burnside & Associates, where she managed political and mobilization campaigns.
Samuel Garrett-Pate, Communications Director (SAN FRANCISCO) — Samuel Garrett-Pate is the communications director for Equality California, where he oversees the organization’s strategic communications and media relations. Prior to joining EQCA, Sam was a Senior Account Executive at RALLY, where he led public affairs, political strategy and litigation communications campaigns on behalf of the firm’s clients. He previously served as an aide to New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.
The four separate federal court injunctions temporarily blocking the transgender military ban, which was first announced via Twitter and then in an August 25 memo, remain in place. The Department of Justice dropped its appeals of the four injunctions against the ban in late December. As a result, openly transgender people may enlist in the military and may serve under the military’s existing (pre-ban) open service policy. Transgender servicemembers have been serving openly since June 2016 without issue, and there are thousands of transgender servicemembers bravely serving the nation with distinction.
The White House’s arguments in favor of the ban have been debunked by high-ranking national security leaders across the political spectrum, including U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), Admiral Mike Mullen, former U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
Equality California, along with four active transgender service members in the United States military and three transgender individuals who wish to enlist in the military, are the Plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump, one of the four pending challenges to the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members. In November 2017, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra successfully intervened in the case to allow the State of California to join as co-Plaintiff. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and Latham Watkins LLP are representing Equality California and the other Stockman v. Trump Plaintiffs. The original complaint, filed on September 5, 2017, is available here.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org