Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 27, 2017 - Veterans who identify as transgender are angered and confused by the recent announcement by President Trump on Twitter that transgender Americans will be banned from serving in the military.
President Trump supported his statement by claiming that the military could not be encumbered with the exorbitant medical expenses and disruption that transgenders in the military would create. Some active service members now think they may have placed themselves at risk when they revealed their transgender identity during the Obama administration, which permitted them to do so.
There have been many transgender people who have served in the military. In years past, they were usually secretive about their status, and underwent gender transitions, frequently with the use of hormones and at times, surgeries following the end of service. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute of the UCLA law school, approximately 15,500 transgender individuals were serving on active duty, in the National Guard or in reserve forces. The study also found that there are over 134,000 transgender veterans.
Tampa, Florida veterans lawyer, David W. Magann, states, “A ban of transgender individuals from the military is likely to cause irreparable harm to many service members, who may suffer deprivation of much-needed veterans’ benefits as a result of being forced out of the armed forces.”
LGBTQ advocacy groups said they would take legal action if the president attempts to convert his tweets into policy. Terrance Kayton, age 34, an Oakland activist who underwent a transition to become male following his service in the Navy, said people are now at risk, and in harm’s way because of President Trump’s tweets.
According to military and legal experts, if President Trump decides to implement a policy of banning transgender people from the military, thousands of troops could be expelled. The Pentagon is anticipating some direction from the White House with respect to the enforcement of Trump’s ban. However, it is uncertain whether the affected troops, of which there could be 15,000, would confront honorable or dishonorable discharges if they are compelled to exit the military.
A dishonorable discharge would deprive them of some veterans’ benefits, such as mental health and educational assistance. But an honorable discharge could also present challenges. Under the prior “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which allowed gays and lesbians to serve only if they concealed their sexual orientation, the reason for discharge was described as “homosexual admission” or “homosexual conduct.” This description had the undesirable effect of outing the veterans to prospective employers. But then in late 2010, Congress and then-President Obama removed the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly.
According to Kristofer Goldsmith, president and founder of High Ground Veteran Advocacy, a civic group for military veterans, it is unclear whether the current administration will form a “transgender” separation code that could disclose veterans’ gender identities to potential employers and possibly cause difficulties.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618