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LGBTQ+ Center at WVU reacts to transgender military ban

By DOUGLAS SOULE

The Daily Athenaeum

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University LGBTQ+ Center said President Trump’s announcement banning transgender people from the military was “very damaging.”

West Virginia University’s LGBTQ+ Center Director stands with University President E. Gordon Gee.
(Photo by Ryan Alexander)

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the WVU LGBTQ+ Center said, “The LGBTQ+ Center stands with transpeople in these difficult times. We are proud of all that you do in your lives, communities, and work. For those of you who serve in the military, we are grateful for your service.”

Exactly 69 years before Trump made the announcement, President Harry Truman issued an executive order that desegregated the military, allowing for men of all races, colors, religions and national origins to enlist.

“It’s damaging because it reminds us that the legacy of increasing equality is stopping and turning on a dime on this day when the military had been desegregated in 1948,” said Cris Mayo, the Director of the LGBTQ+ Center.

“It’s a green light to discrimination and hatred, and that’s very damaging to transpeople,” she said. “I would tell [transgender] students that there are more people in support of them than not.”

Christine Jacobs, Administrative Associate of the LGBTQ+ Center, said the decision was “openly discriminatory.”

“Why would you exclude a population of perfectly great equals who are just as in-shape, just as smart, just as strong, just as willing to fight for their country, based on their gender identity?” Jacobs said. “These individuals who want to fight for freedom within this country don’t even have freedom to be themselves.”

Last year, the Obama administration allowed transgender people to serve in the military. Trump changed that on Wednesday with a series of tweets.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” said Trump. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The “tremendous medical costs” refers to a requirement for the Pentagon to pay for gender transition treatment.

A 2016 study by Rand Corporation said that around 2,450 transgender people served in the active-component military with 1,510 in the Selected Reserve. The study said that transgender active-component healthcare cost increases would be “relatively low,” with rises between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.

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