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Trump transgender army ban outrages Americans

Trump's tweet sparked anger [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 July, 2017

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Donald Trump's announcement that transgender men and women will not be able to serve in the military has angered Americans and former servicemen.
President Donald Trump's announcement that transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military has angered Americans, least of all those who have risked their lives to keep the US safe.

Trump courteously told servicemen and women in war zones across the world that their jobs could be on the line via a Twitter message.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," the tweet read.

Frontline woes

Trump's claim that the decision was based on the opinions of generals appears to be a smack in the face for the many transgender veterans and those on the frontlines.

A former transgender Navy SEAL, who was the subject of a US documentary Lady Valor, challenged Trump to meet face-to-face and explain his decision.

Kristin Beck served for two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq and said Trump's transgender ban was as "disrespectful" as they come, particularly the manner in which the announcement was made.

"The first thought was, why would you tweet that? Why not have a press conference? There are a hundred different ways to make an announcement that are better than a tweet. It blindsided millions of people. It's disrespectful," the former special forces veteran told CNN.

Beck - who was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star - said that he and transgender servicemen and women would fight the ban.

"[The tweet] was an improper way for [this news] to be released, and we're going to figure this out. And then we're going to work through this. We're going to work through it whether he  comes out and says, 'You're in a safe zone, it's OK', or he starts kicking people out," Beck said.

"We're going to consult a bunch of lawyers and start having a bunch of really tough talks."
 

Others have said that the public will know who to side with - a "draft dodging president" or the men and women putting their lives on the line for the US.

"All you have to do is look at my military record. I've deployed five times, in two combat zones, I had no tactical issues. Zero," Shane Ortega, a transgender marine told The Star

"I'm completely furious because: here's a man who isn't willing to step up himself to sacrifice his own body, and yet he wants to police the bodies of people who are willing to do that very sacrifice which he holds in supposed high regard."

In the balance

Those currently serving in the armed forces who say they could be denied the perks they signed up for.

"You pull that rug out from under them after they have this false sense of security, that could really throw them into a downward spiral," said  Indiana National Guard reservist Cameron St. Andrew told Reuters.

It will be particularly bad for the morale of transgender troops and their comrades, deployed to some of the world's danger zones not knowing if their sacrifice will be recognised, while their futures hang in the balance.

"Transgender people are serving today knowing that their leader frankly doesn't trust them," retired Colonel Sheri Swokowski - the highest-ranking openly transgender veteran - told the news agency.

"The bottom line is that this does great harm to people who simply want to serve their country."

Others have pointed out the hypocrisy and lack on consistency of Trump on the issue.

Only last year Trump claimed he would fight for the US' LGBT community and protect their rights.

"Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hilary [Clinton] brings more people that will threaten your freedom and beliefs," he cynically tweeted last year following the Orlando Massacre.




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