President Donald Trump’s announcement to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity is drawing both criticism and support from Houston-area military veterans.
The announcement was made through a series of tweets by the president Wednesday morning and would roll back previous inclusive military policies implemented under former President Barack Obama.
“My heart just kind of like dropped at that point because there’s so many of us transgender people who love our country,” said transgender U.S.Coast Guard veteran Josephine Tittsworth. “We’re patriots and we want to serve our country.”
Tittsworth said she spent her four years of military service in the 1970s while living a secret life onboard the Coast Guard vessel. She was second-class petty officer Joseph Tittsworth back then.
“I wore women’s clothing underneath my uniform, my work uniform, dress uniform,” said Tittsworth. “I’d paint my toenails and go to work.”
Nearly all transgender military members lived a secret double life until recent reforms were made, but now those policies toward active transgender military members have been reversed.
Some Houston-area veterans agree with Trump’s new policy change.
“The military was built on strength,” said retired U.S. Army PFC. Roland Jenkins. “The strength to support America, take care of America. If you’re feeling like you’re to the point where you’ve got a man’s body and you want to be a woman, or a woman’s body and you want to be a man, that’s a personal problem.”
It has been estimated there may be as many as 6,500 active transgender military service members, according to CBS News.