BEAUMONT - Payshunz Nagashima has been a member of the transgender community for years. He has been the educational chair for the Beaumont chapter of Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays.
He says it was disappointing to see what President Trump’s tweets banning transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
"Being told that we're a burden, that we don't matter, that our contribution to the life, liberty, and freedom of the people in this nation, don't matter, is very difficult, it's a hard pill to swallow," Nagashima said.
The series of tweets created split opinions in Washington D.C.
U.S. Congressman Brian Babin believes that the focus on the military should be on providing equipment, rather than healthcare for transgender service members.
"As a veteran myself in close quarters, along with the surgical expenses, it's not conducive to readiness and preparedness in our military," Babin said.
A RAND Corporation study in 2016 finds that as few as 1,320 or as many as 6,630 active duty members are transgender men and women.
Psychologist Dr. Bob Meier, whose son is transgender feels that accepting these community members starts at home.
"The parents and the pastors have to lead the way because this is a very fragile, dependent group, with a 41% suicide rate last year," Dr. Meier said.
Nagashima hopes that the progress made in the LGBT community is not slowed down by what the President posted.
"I think it's really important to realize this is a tweet, there's no plan for implementation. At some point, they're going to have to figure out how to implement this, and they will see it is more costly to try to implement this than continue on with the plan to be inclusive," Nagashima said.
PFLAG Beaumont’s president Jacqueline Hays says in part of a written statement: “PFLAG Beaumont condemns this bigoted attempt to create division in our nation. We will continue to educate private citizens, the clergy, school administrators and politicians about LGBTQIA issues. We will also continue to advocate for LGBTQIA individuals, their families, and allies.
If anyone, LGBTQIA or ally, is in need of support during these trying times of anti-trans rhetoric — which has promoted division, hate-speak, and violence — please contact PFLAG Beaumont at email@example.com, or message us via Facebook.”
Dr. Meier also spoke on KJAC Live at 6:30 on the issue.
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