LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky National Guard member was shocked by President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday that transgender people will be banned from serving in the military.
Trump announced on Twitter that he is barring transgender people from service in the military “in any capacity” because of “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”
Capt. Jacob Eleazer told a superior officer he was a transgender man in 2014. Eleazer said when he saw the president’s statements, he felt like he was “fired by tweet.”
“It was honestly pretty shocking,” said Eleazer, a member of the 198th Military Police Battalion in Louisville.
A spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard said Wednesday that the ban would likely include National Guard members. Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond said no one is sure how the ban would be implemented at this point.
“We’re pretty much in the dark as much as everybody else right now,” Raymond said.
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban.
Eleazer, 31, joined the military in 2006 and works as a therapist in Lexington, Kentucky.
He said in an interview Wednesday that he hopes Trump changes his mind. He believes that if the president visited the Pentagon and spoke to experts and looked at studies, he might see things differently.
“I hope that with some wisdom and openness on his part, he’d be willing to change his mind,” Eleazer said.
A Rand Corp. study estimated that between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members are on active duty and an additional 1,500 to 4,000 are in the reserves.
Eleazer started talking to family and friends about his gender status in 2010, and began transitioning that year.
He said his concern is with younger full-time active duty members who were planning to spend a career in the military but now might be forced out.
“They would be coming out of the military abruptly without having a transition plan” to a new job, he said.
Eleazer wants to work in the military as a full-time therapist. He was hoping to land a clinical internship with the Army but said that’s in jeopardy now.