On The View, trans service members debunk myths about their service and reasons for enlisting
Capt. Jennifer Peace: "'Don't ask, don't tell' is a great way to describe it because they're saying you can be trans, you just can't come out. You can't transition. You can't tell anyone. You can't talk about it, but you can be trans."
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the April 10 edition of ABC's The View:
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STAFF SGT. PATRICIA KING (GUEST): What I will say is that we have found over the last few years that all of their reasons why, that have been stated, are just baseless. You know, we're talking about $2 million a year in transgender medical care versus $40 million a year in Viagra care. So --
CAPT. JENNIFER PEACE (GUEST): Right, the last three years have shown that all the arguments the Department of Defense is making, like medical care, just simply doesn't hold up. The average trans soldier over the last three years of open service has only been non-deployable for four months, and all five service chiefs have come out and said they've had zero issues with readiness, with morale, with trans soldiers at all. So, I would love to know the reason as well, because the reasons the Department of Defense are putting out there simply don't hold up to what we've seen over the last three years.
KING: For me, it's not -- it started with a love for the people that I work with. In the infantry, we're a tightknit group. You know, you spend 6 to 12 months on a deployment with this group of people. The passion started with wanting to be there to serve them. And that's why I continue to go to work every day, is to serve them. And then when I was in Afghanistan, I found a love for helping people that couldn't help themselves, and that's where I really found a passion for the job.
JOY BEHAR (CO-HOST): Jennifer, if you could, what would you tell Trump right now about the, the what we call, I guess it's a "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
PEACE: "Don't ask, don't tell" is a great way to describe it because they're saying you can be trans, you just can't come out. You can't transition. You can't tell anyone. You can't talk about it, but you can be trans.
SUNNY HOSTIN (CO-HOST): And Trish was the first person to have the military pay for the reassignment surgery, am I correct?
KING: Yup, so absolutely. I was the first service member, although several have had that since then. It's a -- it's been a difficult process. There's a lot of red tape. I will tell you right now that if my concern was to have transgender medical care, I would go and I would look at working at a place like Starbucks before I would consider working [in the military], because I wouldn't have to worry about deploying. I wouldn't have to worry about the stigma, and I wouldn't have to worry about years of bureaucracy and red tape to have medically necessary care. People who serve in the military, there are any number of reasons why a person chooses to serve in the military, but it's certainly not to get medical care like this taken care of.