Transgender vets and allies say they're circling the wagons, uniting to push back against the Trump administration and its argument that the government cannot afford to accommodate transgender troops.
“My fear is that they're going to be rounded up and thrown out,” said Melissa Batson, a transgender veteran in King County.
Batson served in the Army in the 1970s. She graduated from the Citadel, then served as an armor officer, commanding a tank platoon at Fort Lewis. Batson, who was then living as a man, was forced to resign after she was caught dressing as a woman off-base.
“Transgender people have been serving in every war that we have fought since the Revolutionary War; there hasn't been a problem,” she said.
Batson says she knows of very few people who go into the military with the intent to undergo the procedures and operations necessary to affirm their gender.
“One of the things that sort of gets to me is how people who are not familiar with transgender think that that kind of surgery is done on a whim; it's not,” Batson said.
She says this ban isn't about money; it's about discrimination and a desire to shove some Americans aside.
“A lot of folks on the other side, who oppose us, their aim is to drive us back into the closet, but the closet is where you learn how to tie a noose,” Batson said.