Local transgender veterans react to flip-flop in military policy - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Local transgender veterans react to flip-flop in military policy

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With Colorado Springs being a large military community, President Trump's tweets regarding re-banning transgender people in the military hits close to home.

News 5 spoke to retired transgender military members last year when the ban was lifted. Today, we revisited one of those people to get their reaction to the President's tweets.

The original ban was lifted just 392 days ago. Now, tweets by the President about reinstating the ban are upsetting the local transgender community.

"Right now a lot of us are in shock," said Shari Zabel, one of three transgender retired military members I spoke to last year when the ban was lifted. At that time, the transgender community was excited.

Zabel takes issue with questioning a transgender person's ability to serve, "For ten of my twenty years I was in combat, and I did just fine." Zabel flew EF-111 fighter jets. She transitioned in 2013. Zabel questions the effect a new ban would have on the estimated 2,500 active and 1,500 reserve transgender military members.

"To implement such a thing right now is extremely difficult to do because you've already let people in," Zabel said. "You've already let them serve openly."

Dara Hoffman-Fox is a counselor that specializes in helping transgender people through their transition, including military personnel. 

"As a counselor I've seen people who are military vets, I see people who are in the military, I even see teenagers that are thinking about joining the military," Hoffman-Fox said. 

She said last year those people were joyous, but now they feel it's time to fight for the cause. "Anytime something like this has happened -- the transgender community and those of us who are allies -- we don't take this lying down," Hoffman-Fox said. 

A RAND Corporation study came out last year with statistics showing transgender health costs are relatively low in the military, and the study recommends how the Department of Defense can easily transition to allowing transgender people throughout the ranks. 

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