CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — People are voicing opinions about President Trump’s tweets about transgender people in the military.
Wednesday, he announced transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve. He says it’s too expensive to accommodate them, but others say there’s such a small percentage of transgender people in the military, the costs are negligible.
Trump’s purposed policy would reverse the military’s policy that allows transgender people to serve openly. It’s been in place since 2016.
It’s been tough for one transgender veteran in Champaign. She realized she was transgender when he was in the military. But, even before that, she says she was, and still is, a patriot.
At 17, Devlin McKee joined the military for the same reason many do.
“It was an opportunity to have something to do after high school because I had no idea what I wanted to do, but also, so I could put away money for college.”
She says her years in the Navy were some of the most important of her life. That’s when she found herself.
“Then, while I was in, still finding out who I was, I realized I was trans.”
Today, McKee is proud of it and says she’s proud to be a veteran. That’s why she’s so bothered by President Trump’s tweets stating trans-people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.
“As a patriot, I think our country can do better and we should include trans-people in the military. Any talent that can help should be there.”
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) agrees. She’s a retired Army colonel and says the reasoning for President Trump’s tweets doesn’t make sense.
“Even the reason that the president referred to is not true. He cited the cost of healthcare for transgender veterans, when in fact, the cost, at most, would be something like 1/8 of one percent of the defense budget.”
More so than money, McKee says she thinks comments like the president’s come from ignorance of the trans-community. Now, she says she hopes for education.
“We’re just people. We’re not out there to attack anyone in the restroom or any of that crazy stuff. We’re just people who want to live our authentic life.”
As of right now, the ban is still under final review. The White House says they are figuring out how to implement the ban.
There are about 1.3 million active duty military members. According to a study by the Rand Corporation, fewer than 2,500 are transgender.