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California National Guard defies Trump on transgender troop ban

Nick Duffy April 14, 2019
National Guardsmen stand in formation along the U.S.-Mexico border during a visit by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger August 18, 2010 in San Ysidro, California.

National Guardsmen stand in formation along the U.S.-Mexico border during a visit by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger August 18, 2010 in San Ysidro, California. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The California National Guard will continue to welcome transgender troops despite a military-wide ban.

The Trump administration rule that bans transgender people from serving in the armed forces went into effect on April 12.

However, California’s National Guard has made clear that it will not be following suit in adopting the policy.

Transgender soldiers ‘will remain in’ California National Guard

Major General Matthew Beevers told The Hill that gender identity of soldiers is “the least of our concerns.”

He said: “Every [transgender] soldier or airmen currently serving in the California National Guard will remain in our ranks. We will not treat any soldier or airmen any differently today, than we did yesterday.”

The general added that the guard “will explore every avenue to ensure that [transgender] people who want to serve in the California National Guard are afforded every opportunity to serve.”

He continued: “Anybody who is willing and able to serve state [and] nation should have the opportunity to serve.

“It’s unconscionable in my mind that we would fundamentally discriminate against a certain class of people based on their gender identity.

“That should be the absolute least of our worries.”

California National Guard Major General Matthew Beevers
California National Guard Major General Matthew Beevers

Beevers added that the guard would “exercise every available avenue” to welcome transgender troops while abiding by the guidelines.

He continued: “It’s a bit frightening where we’re at today.

“However, we’re compelled as military officers to follow the rules of the folks that are elected and appointed above us and we’ll continue to do that.”

13,700 people could face discharge under Trump ban

According to the Palm Center, an estimated 13,700 people will lose their jobs as a result of the Trump ban, which the leader abruptly announced over Twitter in July 2017.

“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 US military,” he wrote.

“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.”

Any person who comes out or is outed as trans in the US Armed Forces from April 12 will be discharged, unless they are willing to suppress their identity. The military will not pay for any gender confirmation surgeries, apart from those which will “protect the health” of people who have begun to medically transition.

After April 12, those applying to join the services with a record of gender dysphoria will have to adhere to the gender they were assigned at birth in order to serve. A doctor will have to certify that they have been stable in that gender for at least 36 months, and that they have not medically transitioned.

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