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Democracy Now!

The First Openly Transgender Infantry Soldier in U.S. Army Speaks Out on Ban

In a move that shocked even the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has barred transgender people from serving in the military. He made the announcement via Twitter on Wednesday. The move could impact as many as 15,000 servicemembers. The New York Times reports Defense Secretary James Mattis only learned of Trump’s plans on Tuesday. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he learned of the policy change through Trump’s tweet. Politico is reporting Trump may have made the snap decision in an attempt to secure congressional funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. A spending bill — which included money for the wall — was facing possible defeat in the House because some Republican lawmakers wanted to ban Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations. We speak to Staff Sergeant Patricia King. She was the first infantry member to reveal she is transgender. King has served in the Army for 18 years, including three active combat deployments to Afghanistan.

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