Transgender Army members Staff Sgt. Patricia King and Capt. Jennifer Peace discussed on "The View" Wednesday how the Trump administration's new transgender policy will change the lives of transgender people who currently serve their country and those who plan to join.
Both King and Peace, who is also an intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, are actively serving in the military. They received the Harvey Milk Foundation Valor Award at this year's Diversity Honors, where they met "The View" co-host Meghan McCain.
The new military transgender policy, instituted by the Pentagon on March 12, will go into effect on Friday, April 12. Under the new policy, transgender people currently serving in the military will be allowed to continue serving so long as they follow the designated dress and grooming standards based on their birth gender.
"There's a possibility for systematic discrimination," King explained. "The possibility that we will be evaluated differently when it comes time for a promotion or to go to a school."
"In terms of things like health care...our dependents, our children and our spouses — if they're transgender, they're at risk of receiving substandard care now," King continued.
With the new military policy in place, transgender recruits will no longer be able to join the military if they underwent surgery or hormone treatment at any point in their lives.
"For anybody who's looking to join the military, if you're transgender you're simply not welcome," King said.
Peace, who began serving 15 years ago, compared the new transgender military policy to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"You can be trans, you just can't come out; you can't transition; you can't tell anyone; you can't talk about it, but you can be trans," Peace said.
The Army captain went on to say that "it's unfortunate to look back" on the ban of black people serving in the military.
When officials were considering lifting that ban, they "said it's an unfortunate social distraction during a time of necessity. We said the same thing about women...gays and lesbians."
"We're going to look back on this in 10 or 15 years in the same way: As baseless discrimination," Peace said.
In July 2016, after "consultation" with generals and "military experts," President Trump publicized his new military transgender ban in three tweets — his reason being that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
King, who has been serving for nearly 20 years, was the first person to have the military finance the cost of her reassignment surgery, but claimed it was a "difficult process" with "a lot of red tape."
For King, joining the military wasn't for the purpose of obtaining transgender health care.
"If my concern was to have transgender medical care, I would go and look at working at a place like Starbucks," King said. "I wouldn't have to worry about deploying...the stigma...and red tape to have medically necessary care."
In February, King and Peace testified before Congress against the Trump administration's transgender service policy, becoming the first-ever active transgender service members to do so.
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