Diana Patton is a U.S. Navy veteran who served her country from 1992 to 1995. “It's just an amazing experience. It also teaches you the importance of diversity that race doesn't matter, gender doesn't matter. Nothing matters except the person next to you,” she said.
At that time, Patton was living as a man. She began her transition to a woman seven years ago. But, she's taking President Trump’s tweets personally. “This is ridiculous. People should be able to serve openly no matter who they are,” said Patton.
President Trump cited "tremendous medical costs" as his reason for banning transgender members of the community from the military. Transgender supporters like Cameron Schraufstetter find that hard to believe. “Whether they're transgender or not there are costs associated with medical procedures whether it’s trans-related surgeries or medical related surgeries such as open heart surgery or anything like that,” Schraufstetter said.
There's no exact number of how many openly transgender people are serving in the military. Patton said that's who she worries about the most. “It's going to hurt the trans community as a whole because a lot of us who aren't openly out living our lives through those people who are which is courageous for a lot of people.”
The Pride Center of WNY and the We Exist Coalition are planning a rally in Buffalo this weekend. But, the details are still being worked out.
To read a recent study conducted by the Rand Corporation about transgender people in the military, click here.