Transgender veterans react to Trump's ban on transgender military members
About 15,000 transgender individuals currently serve in military
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Morgan Mayfaire spent six years serving our country as a U.S. Marine.
He is also transgender.
"Transgender troops are no different than any other soldier or any other troops. We serve our country, we're there as Americans," Mayfaire said.
When President Donald Trump tweeted out Wednesday that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military due to "tremendous medical costs that would burden the military," Mayfaire was taken aback.
"President Trump does not have the right to make that decision in a tweet or overnight on his own," Mayfaire said.
Mayfaire was born a female and served under the "don't ask, don't tell" rule, and waited until he retired from the military in 1997 to begin the transition process.
Under President Barack Obama, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was eliminated, and a policy was put in place allowing trans service members to serve openly in the military.
Mayfaire and other transgender veterans said they do not agree with Trump’s position.
"The truth of the matter is that the military spends five times as much on Viagra as they will be spending on those troops," Mayfaire said.
Mayfaire also points out that Trump’s ban on transgender service may affect vets or people who are going to be joining in the future. In fact, there are estimates that there are about 15,000 trans men and women serving right now.
"The idea that it's going to cost a lot comes from this antiquated notion that every trans person wants surgery, that's really where it lies. And not every trans person wants surgery," Umut Dursun, a transgender veteran, said.
After serving in the Marine Corps for several years, Dursun, who is also a transgender man, now works as a gender education specialist at the Yes Institute in Miami.
He worries this will cause even more issues for LGBTQ youths in the future.
"You maybe always wanted to go into the military, and now suddenly you can't simply because of your experience of gender? That's another reason to say, 'Well, you don't matter,'" Dursun said.
Copyright 2017 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.