"Who are we to say, 'Because of the way you have sex or go to the bathroom you can't serve?'"

Transgender topic

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS CENTER) -- President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that, after speaking with generals and military experts, those who identify as transgender will no longer be accepted into or allowed to serve in any capacity in the United States military.

 

 

 

 

A move last year by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter, lifted a ban on transgender people being able to serve openly. While Carter set the plan in motion, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he would delay the decision to study the issue further.

To learn more about the workings of the military and how a person's gender plays into it, NEWS CENTER sat down with Colonel David Hunt, who spent nearly three decades in the military, and is a regular commentator for Fox News. 

"Less than 1% of the country serves. It's an all volunteer force," said Colonal Hunt. "We've been at war for 16 years. There's thousands of people that of been killed and tens of thousands that have been wounded for the U.S. If somebody wants to come and serve in a war, we should not care how they go to the bathroom or how they have sex."

Colonel Hunt admits transgender is a distraction, but that's not enough to ban those who identify that way. "It is difficult to have, not fair, but difficult in a platoon for a ship or platoon that's together in a small space for 16 hours; there's a lot of issues that on socially and if you throw in an issue like transgender or homosexuality or boyfriend/girlfriend it adds to the mix and it's difficult. It doesn't mean we shouldn't do it but we have to accept it's going to be tough."

In the announcement, President Trump said the healthcare costs for transgender service members would be tremendous.

Last year, the Pentagon asked an independent research company to come up with an estimated cost. The RAND Corporation found that every year, around 129 active duty service members would seek gender transition-related treatment, racking the bill up to about an additional $8.4-million annually; which is about .04% of the regular healthcare budget.

For more on the cost, we sat down with Gia Drew with Equality Maine, who, herself is transgender.

"As the military has become more inclusive and more diverse, whether it was racial inclusion or gender inclusion years ago, and now with transgender people or LGBT people, it's always been they will be a distraction for us doing our job," says Drew. 

"What we know is that is not true. LGBT people can serve honorably in the military and do a great job and make America safe."

According to that same independent RAND study, there are anywhere from 13-hundred to 66-hundred people who are transgender serving in the military right now.

The White House spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that the Department of Defense will be responsible for deciding what will happen to those thousands of service members.
 
NEWS CENTER reached out to the Maine National Guard for a response, but did not get a call back. GOP leaders and the Maine Heritage Policy Center declined to comment.
 

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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