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Oregon's Transgender Population Reacts To Trump's Military Ban

<p>President Donald Trump looks at members of the media extra the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Tuesday, 25, 2017.</p>

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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President Donald Trump looks at members of the media extra the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Tuesday, 25, 2017.

Oregon’s transgender population is reacting Wednesday to news that President Donald Trump will ban them from serving in the U.S. military.

Basic Rights Oregon calls the move disgraceful.

"Thousands of patriotic transgender Americans already serve in our military and are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe and defend our American values,” Executive Director Nancy Haque said.

“There is no place for discrimination in our military," she said. "Discharging talented service members simply because of their gender identity is wrong.”

There are an estimated 15,500 transgender people actively serving in the military, according to the Williams Institute.

But like any group, there’s more than one point of view.

Jamie Shupe is non-binary — that is neither male nor female.

Shupe served as a U.S. Army tank mechanic for 18 years, in locations all over the world including Kuwait, Bosnia and Germany.

Shupe says including transgender people in the military was doomed to fail because it’s unfair — for example, if a male Navy Seal transitions to female, they would become the first female Navy Seal in history.

Shupe says it also puts the military on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in transition costs per person and would take a lot of time out of deployments.

“They’re never going to respect somebody who’s off getting a genital surgery while they’re sitting in a bunker in Afghanistan. It breaks down cohesion, it’s not fair,” Shupe said.

Trump wrote on Twitter that the military must be focused on overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with disruptions. “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.