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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Transgender community in San Diego reacts to new military policy

Transgender servicemembers can now openly serve without concealing their gender identities.

SAN DIEGO — The transgender and military communities in San Diego are speaking out about the historic order signed by President Biden on Monday. Some said the ban being reversed is a huge step towards equality for all who serve.

“What I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform,” said Biden as he signed the executive order allowing transgender people to serve in the military.  

The Executive Director for San Diego Pride, Fernando Lopez, said this order is long overdue.

“It’s a huge moment when you know that you’ve put your life on the line in service for this country, for equal protection under the law. And finally, for the first time, your service is being validated,” Lopez said.

There are about 15,000 transgender people currently serving in the armed services. Army National Guard veteran Nic Herrera, who’s also transgender, said having the ban lifted ultimately benefits the military.

“We are no different than anyone else who wants to raise their hand and take that oath to defend the constitution and protect the United States. Why would you deny anybody that wants to volunteer to protect this country?” said Herrera.  

Herrera, who left the military in 2014, said she was not able to serve openly as transgender, but now people can just be who they are.

Credit: Chris Porco, KFMB
San Diego County Admin building lights up for Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov 20, 2020

“I’m ecstatic that the ban has been repealed because now you can be open. You can be honest and you can truly have those relationships and those bonds and that camaraderie with the people that you serve with,” Herrera said.

The new policy will prevent service members from being thrown out of the military on the basis of gender and it allows transgender people to re-enlist if they’re qualified.