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The Military is Discharging Trans Soldiers Even Without Trump’s Ban

Trans Military

Ban or no ban, the military is up to some shady sh*t.

Donald Trump has proven he's good at two things in his presidency: sitting alone at tables and suffering embarssing court defeats. The latest judge to clap back at him has ordered a halt to Trump's failing transgender military ban, calling for the US military to allow openly transgender recruits to enlist starting January 1, 2018. That's a major legal victory for trans service members, but it's nowhere near the end of the fight.

In August, Broadly spent time with Rachel Waverly, a former soldier who was discharged after a long and complicated dispute erupted over her gender identity. Rachel came out as transgender in June 2016, after the Obama administration overturned the initial ban on trans service members. In the following months, she was subjected to bureaucratic hell that denied her medical transition and diagnosed her with a personality disorder, which ultimately led to her removal from the military. Rachel's experience might not represent the experience of all transgender service members, but it isn't an outlier.

Related | OUT100: 9 Transgender Veterans Talk Service, Trump & Fighting Back

According to a 2012 study by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Veterans Services Clinic at Yale Law School, the Defense Department violated regulations by discharging thousands of service members under the pretense of personality disorders over the past decade. The study supports claims by others that the military diagnosed combat veterans with personality disorders to avoid paying retirement benefits to servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It isn't a stretch of the imagination to connect those violations to Trump's ban on openly transgender service members, which he attempted to justify by (falsely) citing the high cost of medical transition in a dismissive tweet.

Rachel's story gives insight to a way that the military can administratively get rid of unwanted service members, with or without a formal ban. "It feels like I was told that because I was transgender, that my oath of enlistment, that my dedication of service, that it didn't really matter," Rachel told Broadly host Diana Tourjee.

You can learn more about Rachel's experience by watching "The Battle Over Transgender Soldiers in the US Military" for free below.

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