Transgender Service Members Share Their Stories At White House: ‘Our Patriotism Shouldn’t Have An Asterisk Next To It’

Published on July 27, 2017

President Donald Trump’s tweets reinstating a ban on transgender military service members yesterday sparked immediate fear and outrage in the LGBTQ community. About a hundred people, mostly members of the armed forces and of the LGBTQ community, gathered last night in a hastily arranged protest in front of the White House, where they shared personal stories and harsh words for the president. How, or even if, Trump will turn his tweets into policy remains to be seen.

“We understand what it means to put our lives on the line, and we’re ready to die for this country. For [Donald Trump] to disrespect those service-members is the worst possible slap. It is a gut punch,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, a retired transgendered Navy service member.

Estimates of the total number of transgender individuals serving in the military and reserves range from 4,000 to 15,000.

The president cited “medical costs and disruption” in his reasoning for reversing a policy change announced more than a year ago by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama. According to a Politico report, Trump made the decision amid an internal fight among the GOP over barring military funding for gender transition-related surgeries (though his tweets went significantly further than that).

Such surgeries and hormone treatments would amount to an increase of between .04 and 0.13 percent in military healthcare spending, according to a 2016 RAND corporation study. By one measure, the total also amounts to roughly 11 of Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago.

“In the submarine force we always used to say, ‘As long as your surface is equal, your dives are ok.’ I’m ready for Donald Trump to dive and never surface,” Brogan-Kator told the crowd outside the White House. “Those 15,000 [transgender] people in service today, they understand what it means to serve.”…read more here.

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