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Trump's Ban On Transgender People In Military Sparks Fear At NC Bases

Courtesy of Anah Johnson
Courtesy of Anah Johnson

Courtesy of Anah Johnson
Courtesy of Anah Johnson

The men and women at North Carolina’s military bases have been left with a host of questions after President Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender people would be banned from the military.

Spokespeople at both Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg say they’ve received no directives regarding the policy change, and redirected questions to the White House. Meanwhile, transgender people stationed at those bases have begun to grow anxious.

Anah Johnson, a Navy Hospital Corpsman at Camp Lejeune, spoke with WFAE in response to the ban.

- Highlights -

On why she joined the Navy

Both of my parents were in the Navy. That's actually how they met. They met during Desert Storm. So, seeing my parents, hearing their experiences that they had and how much they loved it, that's something that I wanted to do. I wanted to be as great as I felt like my parents were, and serve my country.

On transitioning before trans people were allowed to serve openly

It was hard. A lot of people didn't understand. A lot of people that were in charge of me, they didn't understand why I was changing. Why I was coming to work with small amounts of makeup on, and they were making large deals about it. I appeared male at the time. They didn't understand why this man was coming to work and choosing to be feminine and choosing to wear makeup and they didn't understand that. And they didn't understand that it wasn't really a choice, it's who I am.

On the possible consequences of Trump's policy change going into effect

President Trump has not released any kind of information about what would happen to the trans people that are in currently. Would it be like a grandfather-in program? Or would they be kicked out? Would they lose their benefits? What kind of discharge would they get? Would it be honorable or other than honorable? We don't really know yet, and I think, again, President Trump should have taken that into consideration.

I have friends that are transgender in the military and they're really afraid right now. They're scared. They're scared that they're going to lose their job, lose their benefits - which is like their health care - their college money. They don't know what's going to happen. They don't know what's going to happen in the next couple of months, which is very frightening, especially for being in the military, where we have so much job security. Now, for the first time for a lot of us, we don't have job security anymore.

Copyright 2017 WFAE

WFAE's Nick de la Canal can be heard on public radio airwaves across the Charlotte region, bringing listeners the latest in local and regional news updates. He's been a part of the WFAE newsroom since 2013, when he began as an intern. His reporting helped the station earn an Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage following the Keith Scott shooting and protests in September 2016. More recently, he's been reporting on food, culture, transportation, immigration, and even the paranormal on the FAQ City podcast. He grew up in Charlotte, graduated from Myers Park High, and received his degree in journalism from Emerson College in Boston. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal
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