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Protest planned in response to Trump ban on transgender service members

A local LGBT advocacy group is holding a protest this weekend in response to a new proposal from the Trump administration on transgender military members.Organized by the We Exist Coalition, the rally is in opposition of President Donald Trump’s recently-announced ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Diana Patton, who works with the coalition, says the policy would be devastating.

“Thousands of openly-serving transgender people are going to be discharged and if it’s anything like the discharges of LGBT people in the past, it means they’re going to be dishonorably discharged, thus ruining all these people’s lives,” Patton said.

In July of 2017, President Trump tweeted, “The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military." The initial ban was blocked by federal judges. The new policy aims to ban only transgender individuals who have undergone gender transition, citing Department of Defense concerns over gender-based training.

Patton is concerned that the updated policy will still prevent most transgender individuals from serving their country.

“Trump put out another tweet saying that he is going to be banning all transgender people, with some exceptions. But basically the exceptions are pretty much putting every trans person out of the military,” she said.

According to the BBC, between 4,000 and 10,000 active duty and reserve service members are believed to be transgender. Patton believes service members in the LGBT community should have the same opportunity has others.

“We should be able to serve our country just like everybody else. It makes us less than everybody else by not being able to serve,” said Patton.

Patton is urging anyone who wants to get involved to write to their congressional representatives and register to vote.

The protest will be held this Saturday at the Lafayette Square Veteran’s Memorial starting at 1 p.m.

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