Local transgender veteran reacts to the proposed military changes

NOW: Local transgender veteran reacts to the proposed military changes


MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- New information now being revealed, showing that President Trump plans to move forward with his plans for transgender service members.  This comes after the President tweeted in July, that the U.S. military will no longer accept transgender applicants, or pay for transitional therapies.  

If these policies go through, it will impact the more than 15,000 service members who identify as transgender, those who were considering enlisting, and the more than 130,000 transgender veterans across the country. 

"I was a sergeant in the U.S. Airborne 82nd Infantry. I was a team leader in Iraq in 2003. And I transitioned in 2013," says Rhiannon Carlson. 

From sacrifice and service, to humiliation and hurt. 

"It makes me feel like my service wasn't valued," she adds.

Carlson, a transgender veteran, has much to say about President Trump's proposed policies regarding transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

Especially now.

"The 82nd Airborne Division, my division, was called the All-American division for a reason," explains Carlson. "It was the first division to integrate racially. So here we are, the 100 year centennial of my division, and we're taking steps back and excluding Americans from service."

Exclusion, coming in the forms of Tweets and memos, indicating possible change that would allow a ban of new transgender applicants from serving, and checking the "deploy-ability" of current trans service members. 

"It does bother me. Because it says that trans people are broke and they can't do their job. And that's incorrect," adds Carlson. 

She says, it's a waste of good soldiers who are willing to protect and defend. 

"Transgender Americans are more likely to serve than cisgender Americans," explains Carlson. "The military is the epitome of masculine achievement in our society, [and that] people are trying to run towards those images."

"I was a highly successful soldier because of that. I had something to prove," she adds.

Carlson, like so many others, are calling on the Pentagon for help.

"The generals said a tweet is not an official order, and that is absolutely correct. But that is as far as they went," she says. "Are they going to follow the dictates of the Commander in Chief? That's on their conscience."

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