North Texas Daily

North Texas residents affected by transgender military ban

North Texas residents affected by transgender military ban

North Texas residents affected by transgender military ban
January 24
00:58 2019

In a 5-4 decision on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States allowed the Trump Administration’s transgender military ban to take effect while cases challenging it play out in the lower courts.

“Heartbroken,” said Deborah Grabowski, a retired veteran who is transgender. “I seriously am. I mean, this would be a time and place to really take a lead and begin to have people who are transgender serve in the military just to see how effective it really is and that there’s nothing to worry about.”

Grabowski, 53, first joined the U.S. Air Force in 1985 as a firefighter.

“Me being transgender did not negatively affect our mission,” Grabowski said. “And even today I serve as a volunteer firefighter and there’s no issue there.”

Trump’s transgender military ban came to be after he tweeted about it in July 2017 in 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,” Trump tweeted. “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.”

Media arts sophomore Tucker Webb is transgender and said in a message that “the transgender military ban is about not me or any other trans individual being upset that we can’t be a marine, airman, etc.”

“It is a step taken by this administration to further dehumanize us,” Webb said. “Banning transgender people is a message being sent that we are not like the general public. We are being ostracized over something that cannot be controlled.”

Webb also said the transgender military ban is a major attack on trans healthcare.

“If you are apart of the military, there are terrific healthcare benefits and these healthcare benefits are given to those transgender soldiers,” Webb said. “Therefore hormone replacement therapy and gender confirmation surgeries are covered and (or) easier to receive.”

With regards to Trump’s assertion of “tremendous medical costs,” a Department of Defense study commissioned by the Rand Corporation said “we expect only a small number of [active component] service members to access transition-related healthcare each year.”

The study came to a midrange estimate of 2,450 transgender personnel serving in the active component and 1,510 serving in the selected reserve. It also estimated that no more than 130 service members would seek out surgical treatment and no more than 140 service members would seek out hormone therapy.

As for the costs regarding to transition-related medical care, according to The Washington Post, the military spends 10 times as much on erectile dysfunction medications as it does on transition-related medical care — $84 million versus $8.4 million, respectively.

“It seems like we’ve taken five steps back from the previous administration,” Grabowski said. “It just seems like it was just done without any forethought whatsoever.”

Clinton Miller is a cisgender 32-year-old emergency and planning administration junior at UNT who joined the military at 19. He said the people in the military do not care who you are as long as you can do the job.

“These days after being at war for almost two decades, we just want to make sure that the person on our left and right is able and willing to fight,” Miller said. “If you meet physical standards and are ready to sign that check to the U.S. people for an amount up to and including your very life, then let that person serve.”

Grabowski said the ban “blatantly discriminatory.”

“We live in a very diverse society,” Grabowski said. “And our military has to reflect the diversity of our nation.”

Featured Image: Deborah Grabowski (left), 53, at a Veterans Day ceremony at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas. Grabowski began serving in the Air Force in 1985 as a firefighter. Courtesy Deborah Grabowski. 

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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