The Trump administration’s newly-released guidelines on banning transgender people from serving in the military may not have taken effect yet, but some transgender troops currently serving say the policy is already taking a toll on their community.
Blake Dremann, an active-duty Navy lieutenant commander, who also leads an association of LGBT service members called SPARTA, told VICE News he’s already heard from other transgender military personnel who've experienced discrimination.
“My superiors have been very supportive. But we have had service members who have experienced discrimination — typically along the lines of, they don't agree that we're able to serve. They don't like the policy and they refuse to follow the regulations,” Dremann said.
The administration’s ban, which President Trump first announced via tweet last summer, has yet to take effect because it was blocked in the courts after a handful of LGBTQ rights organizations challenged the proposal last year.
But the administration is still moving forward with crafting guidelines and policy around the ban, and on Friday the White House released a new, more specific memo endorsing a handful of recommendations from a Department of Defense panel convened to study the issue. The panel recommended — and Defense Secretary James Mattis signed on to — banning individuals who have undergone gender confirmation surgery in the past, or plan to in the future, from enlisting.
Dremann said he fielded texts all weekend from transgender people currently serving in the military, confused about what the new policy means for them.
"We're expected to be tough-minded," Dremann told VICE News. "And while it is going to add stress to their deployment, the expectation is that they will be able to deal with that."
This segment originally aired March 26, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.