PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Transgender veterans and activists gathered at a small rally in Terry Shrunk Plaza Wednesday night to speak out against President Donald Trump’s “discriminatory” transgender ban.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced transgender troops would not be allowed to service in the U.S. military.
Activists in Portland said his ban is the same as discriminating against any other minority group. They also said transgender individuals deserve equal treatment.
Nathaniel Boehme, who is currently in the Air National Guard, is a gay veteran and has a husband.
“Every American that makes a choice to give of themselves their blood, sweat and tears for this country should be respected for doing so,” Boehme said.
A RAND Corporation study estimates there are between 2,500 and 7,000 active duty transgender service members.
In a series of tweets, Trump said the continued service by transgender individuals would burden the military with tremendous medical costs.
Boehme said, “It’s honestly very hard to believe that our sitting president and our elected representative, our commander-in-chief, would treat his troops in this manner.”
Jenn Burleton, who works at Transactive Gender Center, said, “There’s no thought process to this. Just the insane ramblings of a man in power that unfortunately does great harm to American citizens.”
A 2016 study found transgender people who may opt for gender reassignment surgery or other procedures would only add 1/10 of 1% to overall military healthcare spending.
It’s currently unclear what will happen to all the current transgender military service members.