The Los Angeles Blade reported yesterday that the White House approved a policy to ban transgender service members based on President Donald Trump’s tweets last week. Called “A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out,” it was first reported by The Blade late Friday night. It is expected to be delivered to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis for review.
Citing “sources familiar with the planning,” The Blade reported the White House policy “would encourage early retirement, usher out any enlisted personnel after their contract is up, and would fire trans officers up for promotion.”
The Trump administration wants “to get rid of transgender servicemembers as fast as they can,” a source told The Blade.
Outwire757 recently spoke with Taryn McLean and Katelyn O’Connor, two transgender members of the Hampton Roads community, for their take on the apparent ban.
McLean, a Portsmouth resident, has served in the US Navy since 2010 and is currently in the midst of the sexual reassignment process funded in part by Tricare. He is one of the first openly transgender enlistees in the Navy.
“I can say that I responded to this news with disappointment for my country and those who are supposed to be the protectors,” he said. “On a personal level, I have had to revisit contingency plans I put into place when I first joined the Navy so that I can continue my transition should this actually become policy.”
“Regardless, I will continue to be visible as a transmilitary member and advocate for those rights.”
On a local level, McLean has received an outpouring of support from his command as well as the community.
“I’ve gotten such a motivational show of support from coworkers and loved ones all over,” he said. “On the day after the first first Tweets were made, my boss called and showed his support, and I think most enlisted and military leaders are against the ban.”
“I have never been one to back down from a fight,” he said. “I will always do everything I can to leave this world better than I came into it.”
O’Connor, a former law enforcement officer and Norfolk resident, said, “Trump and his adminstration are going to be the downfall of this country. With this decision, he went too far and overstepped his bounds.”
She continued, “Other people should never tell you who you are or when you can and can’t be your true self. I am prepping for a possible long stay in Canada if it gets any worse.”
There are an estimated 15,000 transgender soldiers serving in the U.S. military. A small group of Republican members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence, along with leaders of the religious far right and anti-LGBT hate groups, have been pushing for some action against transgender troops for months. However, implementation could take time since military leaders are opposed to Trump’s ban.