A decorated transgender special forces operative has issued an angry challenge to Donald Trump as the US military says it is in no rush to implement the ban on transgender troops.
Kristen Bell, a 20-year Navy Seal veteran, has called on President Trump to meet her “face-to-face” and tell her she’s “not worthy” of serving in the armed forces.
The challenge comes as General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told military leaders Friday morning (AEST) there has been no change yet to the military’s policy on transgender personnel.
President Trump sparked condemnation with his announcement that transgender people will be barred from serving in the US military “in any capacity,” due to the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” they impose.
The decision reversed a groundbreaking move by President Barack Obama last year to open the armed services to transgender troops.
General Dunford sent a written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders telling them there was no immediate plan to change the policy on transgender troops.
“There will be “no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.” he said
“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” he said in the message, shared by a CNN correspondent on Twitter
“As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
Navy Seal speaks out
Among the politicians, celebrities and troops who publicly condemned President Trump’s move was ex Navy Seal Beck, who was born Christopher Beck.
Ms Beck, a 20-year veteran of the US special forces called on the President to : “meet face-t-face and you tell me I’m not worthy” in an interview with Business Insider.
“Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service,” Ms Beck said.
“Being transgender doesn’t affect anyone else. We are liberty’s light. If you can’t defend that for everyone that’s an American citizen, that’s not right.”
Ms Beck, 51, deployed 13 times over two decades – including operations in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan – receiving the Bronze Star award for valour and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.
“I was defending individual liberty,” she said. “I defended for Republicans, I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.”
MEET ME & tell me I’m not WORTHY to my face. pic.twitter.com/eqAHTysfma
— Chief Beck (@valor4us) July 26, 2017
President Trump said he made his decision after consulting with “generals and military experts,” without naming them.
He said the US military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.
No mention was made of the many of thousands of transgender troops already serving in the military.
There is thought to be at least 4000, and as many as 10,000, transgender troops serving in the US armed services.
– With agencies