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Only the Brave?: Local residents mixed on military transgender ban

By Staff | Aug 4, 2017

Getty Images photo President Donald Trump greets members of the US military alongside Vice President Mike Pence.

Last Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce that he wants to reinstate a ban which would bar transgender people from military service, citing associated medical costs and possible disruptions.

Whether the ban will return or not, the citizens of Shepherdstown have mixed feelings on the matter.

One individual, who requested to speak on anonymity, says they are on the fence about the ban.

“I believe that Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military is slightly premature. I believe that there should be more studies done to accurately tell whether they are still an effective fighting force regardless,” the person said. “As for problems with transgenders in the military, the automatic thought can be they are emotionally unstable because of hormone changes or current treatment. All in all, they need to spend more time exploring what needs to happen to make us an effective force while being fair within reason.”

Gabby Hersey, someone with personal ties to the military, is completely against the ban because she doesn’t think gender or gender identity affects the job military members are tasked with.

“They’re defending their country and the rights of its citizens. If I see someone wearing Navy blues or Army camo, I’m going to thank them for the sacrifices they’ve made, regardless of their gender or identity,” Hersey said. “I have seen firsthand what military men and women deal with. Transgender people are people too and they deal with those same problems.”

Another individual who chose to speak on anonymity believes that if transgender people are allowed to serve, America’s taxpayers should not be responsible for resulting medical costs.

“The ban was premature because not many studies have been done, but I also feel kind of indifferent to the situation. However, I think that all selective surgeries should not be covered by federally, so that releases the fiscal aspect from my argument. I believe that transgenders in military settings should be studied to see what impacts it would have on the military and operations, as well as the individuals,” the person said.

Fallon Jenkins says she is against the ban because she doesn’t think taxpayers funding military personal receiving treatment is a problem.

“The only argument that I have heard so far supporting the ban is that it will cost extra regarding reassignment surgeries and hormone treatment, thus making these individuals a burden on the taxpayers. I personally don’t believe that, and if any of tax money goes to help someone obtain the treatment they need, then so be it,” Jenkins said.

According to Jenkins, she is more concerned with the weight of Trump’s tweets and feels it gives transphobic and homophobic people permission to be hateful towards the LGBTQA+ community.

Greg Hawk agrees with the ban due to the associated medical costs, which would fall on the shoulders of America’s taxpayers. However, he said he doesn’t think currently serving transgendered people should be kicked out of the military.

“I don’t agree with kicking transgenders out if they are already serving, but at the same time there is a negligible number of transgender people in the military,” Hawk said. “People who are asthmatic are banned from joining due to the cost of medical treatment being too high for the military and inhalers are a lot cheaper than hormones.”

Hawk said he is also concerned with mental instability and risk of suicide within the transgender population, because it could jeopardize their – and other service members’ – well-being.