NC transgender veteran reacts to Trump’s tweets

Z Zaldivar (CBS North Carolina)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — President Donald Trump’s statement on Twitter on Wednesday that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity is drawing a lot of attention across the nation.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, transgender man and Marine Corps veteran Z Zaldivar said the transgender community is “scrambling to figure out what’s going on.”

Zaldivar said he was honorably discharged as a lance corporal. At the time he served, under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he had not started his transition to a man.

“At the time, it was hard enough to be seen as a member of the lesbian community, to go even take that further step to be trans,” he said.

Zaldivar said those memories are coming back with the latest news.

“To say that uniform members can’t do their service because they’re trans, they’re gay, they’re black, they’re brown is the true distraction to military readiness,” he said.

One of the president’s tweets said the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

“Our military has always needed to reflect the community in which it serves, and one of those communities in which our military members serve are trans people,” Zaldivar said.

He said the next step for the transgender community is “to fight, to say there is no reason for me not to serve.”

A Fort Bragg spokesman said the base has not received any guidance in policy change with respect to the transgender community.

Transgender people are allowed to serve in the military under policies of the Obama administration.

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