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Las Vegas transgender veteran says President Trump's ban is personal

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 15:47:53-04

Transgender veteran Blue Montana says he was shocked after hearing the news that President Donald Trump tweeted a ban on transgender people from serving the military.

In a series of 3 tweets, President Trump announced: "after consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised the United States government will not accept or allow any transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."  He goes on to explain that trans soldiers would be a burden on medical cost and a disruption.

For Montana, the words come as an insult as a transgender veteran who served in the Marines for 13 years.  

"I think he was looking in the mirror and he is the burden to his country," Montana says. "Trans troops have never been the burden."

Montana says he was inspired to enlist after his cousin was murdered for being gay while serving in the Navy. After several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Montana was kicked out of the Marines for being a lesbian.

It wasn't until after he was kicked out that he transitioned. He says at the time, being transgender would have been difficult in the military.

It's why he was elated when President Obama overturned the ban. Montana wanted to re-enlist but was then too old.  

But he's proud of friends who have now been able to serve openly, including several at Nellis Air Force Base. That is until today. He now says his trans friends are in fear after President Trump's order.

"They're worried about if they're gonna have to go back to their gender assigned at birth or if they're gonna get kicked out," he says.

In response to the president's announcement, both of Nevada's senators issued statements against the plan.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said the president "should be ashamed," and said "discrimination has no place in our Armed Forces.  

Meanwhile, Sen. Dean Heller's office said "Senator Heller believes that anyone who wants to join the military should be able to."

Gov. Brian Sandoval released a statement Thursday regarding the Nevada National Guard's policy.

“Yesterday, upon learning of the President’s Twitter announcement that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the United States military, I immediately requested information on what protections the State could put into place for those individuals serving in the Nevada National Guard. Under advisement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I have directed the Nevada National Guard to make no modifications to the current policy, unless instructed to by the Secretary of Defense. Nevada has a long history of treating our military and veteran community with the dignity and honor they deserve. In the past I’ve signed into law protections for these vulnerable communities, including Senate Bill 148 which requires the Nevada Department of Veterans Services to provide resources for LGBT veterans that were dishonorably discharged because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
As Commander in Chief of the Nevada National Guard, I support Guardsman Hunt and am thankful for his longstanding service to our state and country. We will serve all of the members of our military as well as they  serve us and give them the full respect they have earned. They deserve nothing less.”