BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – A ban on transgender people serving in the military remains on hold while appeals play out in court.
But even the thought of a ban upsets transgender veteran Cassandra Williamson. She can’t believe the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for President Trump’s proposed partial transgender ban to became military policy.
“Some of these people have 10, 20, 30 years in the service already and they are deeply concerned about it,” said Williamson. “They don’t know if they are going to have their retirement or if they are going to get kicked out. ”
Under Trump’s proposed policy, transgender persons with a history of gender dysphoria who may require “substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery” are disqualified from serving.
There are some exemptions, which include service members who have been stable for three years in their biological sex prior to joining the military, people who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria after beginning their military service but do not require a change of gender, and people the Pentagon calls transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and who serve in their biological sex.
Williamson said this is a step back for the people willing to sacrifice for the country. “We are all very much committed to this country, but at the same time this hurts like hell.”
A hurt she knows all too well, because she couldn’t openly serve as a transgender woman during the 70’s and 80’s when she enlisted in the Navy and served as an officer in the Marine Corps.
She said it could be happening all over again .
“I cried. It hit me hard. I worried about my friends who are currently serving. It just really stung,” she continued.
Despite what Williamson said could be a setback, she is confident transgender service members will continue to honor this country.
“We went in to serve the country. We always wanted to be a part of, and this is the way we give to our country,” she said.
One of the biggest reasons behind the push for the partial ban, President Trump points to rising health care costs for transgender veterans.