The U.S Army and Air Force are being sued after allegations that an openly lesbian member of the National Guard was pressured to “appear more feminine” by her boss.

According to the Daily Beast, Kristin M Kingrey of the West Virginia Air National Guard (WVNG) has claimed that she was held back from promotion twice after repeated comments that she should grow her hair and wear makeup.

37-year-old Technical sergeant Kingrey filed the lawsuit in November 2021, hoping to draw attention to comments made by a senior male leader in the army, where she has worked for nearly 14 years.


Speaking with the Daily Beast, Kingrey explained that a position she had successfully applied for was randomly withdrawn (because of alleged budget cuts) after being verbally offered the position.

The role was then re-advertised.

In another instance, Kingrey also claims that she was not hired for a position despite being more than qualified.

“From 2016 to 2018, I was constantly being pulled into my seniors’ offices being told my hair was out of regs (regulation).”

“It crossed a line into harassment, and I carried on my person a copy of our regulations in regards to female hair length because I was not breaking any rules,” Kingrey says. 

Kingrey’s lawsuit claims she was subject to “continued harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based upon her sex, including her sexual orientation and perceived gender nonconformity.”

It is reported that the incident sparking the lawsuit happened when a senior leader, vice wing commander colonel Michael Cadle, asked a female lieutenant colonel to encourage Kingrey to begin appearing more feminine.

Kingrey explained that it was implied she should “grow my hair out and start wearing makeup because if I didn’t, it would be detrimental to my career in the West Virginia Air National Guard.”

“I had heard of other females with short hair having issues with people saying things, but I don’t know that progressed to the extent mine did. My hair length has nothing to do with my work ethic or job performance. Initially, I was embarrassed. I could not believe that not fitting their mould of how I should look would truly impact my career. It was devastating.”

Kingrey’s attorney, Mike Hissam, says they are seeking the job offer back, as well as an apology from colonel Cadle.

“We would want reinstatement and back pay… Kristin should get the position she applied for and would have gotten had it not been for the unlawful discrimination she suffered. That’s the outcome she wants,” Hissam says.

The U.S Army would not comment on the matter, with A U.S Army spokesperson telling the Daily Beast: “As a matter of policy, the Army does not comment on ongoing litigation.”

Kingrey concluded that she simply wants to carry on as usual and be treated fairly by her superiors.

“I just want to go through my career on a fair basis. I’ve never asked for favouritism just because I am from the LGBTQ community. I just want to be allowed to continue my military career based on my own merits and off my work ethic.”