California National Guard to transgender troops: 'Nobody's going to kick you out'

news
Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 330th MP Company, California National Guard, patrol along side a group of school children during a dismounted patrol through the city of Khost in the Khost province of Afghanistan. (California National Guard/Spc. Joseph Samudio)

One of the highest-ranking officers in the California National Guard told lawmakers on Tuesday that the state is not removing transgender soldiers and airmen from its ranks despite efforts by the Trump administration to bar transgender people from the U.S. military.

"As long as you fight, we don't care what gender you identify as," said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard.


His remarks to the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee came less than a month after the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision allowed President Donald Trump's 2017 ban on transgender military service members to proceed. Trump announced the ban on Twitter, reversing an Obama administration policy that permitted people who identify as transgender to serve openly.

Trump's directive has been challenged by several states, including California where Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined with Equality California in a lawsuit to argue that Trump's policy discriminated against transgender residents who wanted to enlist in the military.

One more appeal, from Maryland, is still delaying the Trump administration from fully enacting its ban on new enlistments from people who identify as transgender, Stars and Stripes reported this week.

Trump wrote in his order that he did not believe the Obama administration adequately studied military readiness when it opened the armed forces to transgender people. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

The Rand Corp. in June 2016 released a study that concluded fewer than 6,630 transgender people serve in the military, that only a fraction of them seek gender-related medical treatments and that their gender-transition health costs would be "relatively low" at less than $8.4 million a year.

Ash Carter, President Obama's defense secretary, argued that allowing troops who are transgender to serve openly would ensure that anyone who was "able and willing to serve" would have had an opportunity join the military.

Beevers told lawmakers "I believe the ban (on transgender troops) will be lifted again."

He said at least two transgender airmen serve in the California National Guard. He said more transgender people might serve in the California National Guard, but the agency does not count them.

"At the end of the day, we're not compelled to measure it, so we don't," he said.

Beevers said transgender troops in the National Guard would be allowed to continue to serve if they pursue gender reassignment surgery.

"Nobody's going to kick you out," he said.

Several Democratic lawmakers brought military service members who identify as transgender to Trump's State of the Union Address. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco brought Army Capt. Jennifer Peace and Maj. Ian Brown, officers who identify as transgender.

———

©2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Here's What The Data Actually Says About Transgender Military Service

WATCH NEXT: Coming Out: A Transgender Airman's Story

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less
Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec. 6, 2006. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.

Read More Show Less