AUSTIN (NewsNation Now) — A former Texas State Guard member said she was ‘fat shamed’ and given the boot because of her weight.
“I don’t understand why they’re kicking out people that have gained weight,” said Lt. Col. Cendy Brister-Antley. “Are we suddenly less intelligent because we gained weight?”
Brister-Antley dedicated 13 years to the Texas State Guard, a noncombat volunteer force without law enforcement authority, and rose through the ranks.
“I was only the second female to be a regimental plans and operations officer,” she said.
Her volunteer position was a part-time desk job.
In February of 2020, a record shows she was honorably discharged for violating the Guard’s weight rules, which states that all who serve must have a body mass index below 40.
In an email, Brister-Antley was told, “you’re encouraged to evaluate your personal health situation.”
Brister-Antley shared a photo of one of her weigh-ins. At the time, she says she was 5’8” and weighed 263 pounds. According to the CDC online BMI calculator, she says her BMI was actually 39.9. She accuses the Texas State Guard of rounding up.
“I was not given an opportunity per their own policy to get on their medical weight-loss program,” Brister-Antley said. “I was told you’re 40, you’re out.”
She says her weight has no impact on her ability to do her job, which she considers a calling.
In an email obtained by NewsNation affiliate KXAN, the Guard’s commanding general defended the policy, saying the health and fitness of members “directly impacts our ability to effectively respond to state and local emergency situations.”
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“I do feel it’s discrimination,” Brister-Antley said.
Texas State Guard told NewsNationNow.com Thursday that since January 2020, they have let 13 members go for being overwieght. They again defended their decision to let Brister-Antley go.
She hopes that she would be welcomed back by the Guard, but at this time, that is not an invitation she’s received.