East Texas community reacts to Trump's transgender military ban - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas community reacts to Trump's transgender military ban

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) -

Five days ago, this transgender woman changed her legal name to Chelsea McDonald. 

"Everyone says this is a choice," said McDonald. "Personally, I never chose this, but I love being me. If I wasn't me now, I'd probably be dead."

McDonald grew up in Zavalla, Texas, where she found it hard to be herself. 

"My future back when I was who I used to be was very, very dark," said McDonald. "I was bullied real, real bad in school."

President Trump's ban of all transgender people from the military made her feel like she was being bullied all over again.

"I don't think it's right, at all," said McDonald. "If you want to fight for this country, I think you should be able to, whether you've transitioned or not."

Trump went public with this plan by writing multiple tweets, that stated his decision to no longer allow "transgender individuals" in the U.S. military. Trump cited the "medical costs" and "disruption" of transgender in the military.

A local LGBTQ-advocacy group in East Texas, Pride of East Texas, stands up for the rights of transgender people and other LGBTQ people.

"Starting with these tweets, he went off and said people who are perfectly fit for combat shouldn't be allowed to serve in our armed forces because of their gender identity," said POET founder, Ethan McBride. "That makes no sense, and that harms our military."

Military veteran, Don Baum, was in active duty in the sixties.

"If they do their job, do whatever their MOS is and do it right, I don't have any problem with it," said Baum. "The problem comes in when the surgery comes in, that's the thing."

A 2016 study conducted by the defense department stated that the cost for gender replacement surgeries could be anywhere between $2.4 and $8.4 million dollars. 

"Something like 230 days, they would be in rehab, like they could not even serve," said Baum. "So, they couldn't be deployed anywhere, until all this therapy is done and surgeries are healed up. 230 days is almost a year that they couldn't perform."

The same study states that of the thousands of transgender soldiers in the military, twenty five to thirty of them will have the surgery. 

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