CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump stated the United States will bar transgender people from serving in the military.
The President tweeted:
"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. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail. Thank you."
Two North Carolina veterans, both transgender women, weighed in on the news.
Lara Americo and Janice Covington are both transgender women. They were born male, but identify as women. And, they also both served in the military - and tonight they're both reacting to today's news.
Americo enlisted in the Air Force in 2002, after the Twin Towers fell in New York. But it wasn't until much later that she revealed, though she was born a male, she was a woman.
“I'd be there, the most masculine person in the room, and laugh at these jokes just to keep up the appearance is but know inside I'm one of these people, I'm the butt of these jokes,” she said.
Covington served in the Army during the Vietnam War. She says she knew who she was from day one, but didn't come out until 2004: knowing there would be backlash.
“These eyes have seen a lot,” she said, “I've had to crawl through the ditches, I scratched my way and I've even fought my way just to get a hamburger in a line at McDonalds.”
When the two saw the tweet from President Donald Trump about a new ban on transgender troops, they were disappointed.
“What President Trump said is wrong,” said Covington, “Transgender people are people, we bleed like everybody else, we go to war and we will fight like everybody else.”
“It's scary because… I know for a fact that there are more transgender people in the military than the statistics will show because I know that there are more in hiding that are scared to be themselves,” said Americo.
Organizations, like Liberty Counsel, applauded the President. the chairman said, “the military is a lethal weapon designed to protect America and our allies. It is not a social club, a social experimentation petri dish, or ClubMed.”
“The military shouldn't just be a place that people trying to get benefits. The military to me, is a place where you go to serve your country,” said Covington.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said this move was a military decision - nothing personal.