MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A day after President Donald Trump’s tweet barring transgender people from serving in the military, dozens take part in the “Trans Justice Rally” in Downtown Miami.
“We want to let the administration know that things like this will not go without a response and that we especially the LGBT community and our allies here in South Florida are angry,” said organizer Bren Pantilione.
The LGBT advocacy organization SAVE, Safeguarding American Values for Everyone, organized the event at the Torch of Friendship in front of Bayside. Rally participants say transgender people face enough discrimination on a daily basis as it is.
“We suffer the highest rates, some of the highest rates of homeless, of unemployment, of lack of access to health care. These are basic necessities that we all agree should have but yet the transgender community is lacking,” said rally participant Aryah Lester.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that the government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve “in any capacity in the U.S. military” because of what he called the tremendous cost and disruption.
Pentagon leaders said, for the time being, transgender service members can continue serving openly since President Trump’s tweet is not an executable military order.
The secretary of defense has to receive an actual direction to stop in order to make the change.
“We will work through the implementation guidance when we get it, and then we’ll move from there,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Umut Dursun became a U.S. Marine 17 years ago before he transition from female to male. Umut was saddened to hear about President Trump’s plan to reinstate the ban on transgender service members.
“I love my country. I went into the military because I wanted to serve and defend. I signed an oath – I will defend that to a tee. That has nothing to do with my experience of gender, I’m just patriotic,” Dursun said.
Estimates of the number of transgender individuals serving in the military vary from 1,300 to more than 15,000.
The President said transgender soldiers will rack up huge medical bills.
That contradicts a study conducted under the Obama administration finding the costs would be minimal.
Anthony Verdugo, who is with the Christian Family Coalition in Miami, stands by the president’s plan saying this is a fiscal issue.
“Americans don’t want their tax payer money used for that. They want their tax payer money used to buy planes, to buy bombers, to defend this country – not to pay for anybody’s sex change operation, sorry,” Verdugo said.