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NC’s Payton McGarry on proposed military transgender ban

If you follow NC Policy Watch, you’ve read the name Payton McGarry.

Payton McGarry prepared for a military career but has seen that dream repeatedly frustrated.

As a young transgender man, the 21-year-old UNCG student was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging HB2 – and is a plaintiff in the amended lawsuit against its replacement, HB142. He recently announced a run for Greensboro City Council.

He’s also, as we’ve covered before, one of a number of transgender Americans who thought being openly transgender would prevent them from serving in the military. That all changed last year, when the Obama-era Department of Defense announced it would lift its ban on transgender service in the military.

This week President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he intends to reverse that policy – a shift that reportedly caught the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of Staff by surprise.

Now, McGarry has written a powerful essay at the Lambda Legal website about his own experience and what a ban on transgender people serving “in any capacity” in America’s military means for him personally.

From the piece:

A delay is not the end, and three tweets are not an official policy change (any actual policy change beyond the tweets remains to be seen). But again, this month and this week, I’ve seen my whole plan for my future fall down around me, just as it had when I wanted to join the Marine Corps in high school.

Being disappointed, yet again, is a lot of the pain.

But honestly, another big part of the pain is seeing how uneducated so many people are about these issues.

I had someone tell me later that afternoon that it takes a person a year to recover from top surgery. “Funny,” I thought, “because it only took me about a month.”

I heard people say that the military doesn’t need us, despite the fact that the Army is not hitting its recruitment goals.

I saw people spout wildly inaccurate stats about the cost of health care for transgender people, when even most major publications are reporting that the cost of health care for trans service members is miniscule compared to the rest of the military’s budget. Or compared to the unnecessary financial burdens Donald Trump and his family have put on the federal government, for that matter.

But the worst part about Wednesday was having to realize just how many people actually think that trans people are a burden. Seeing all the misinformation and lack of education is hard, but feeling that hatred is almost unbearable.

Because the truth is that trans people are amazing. We are so strong that it blows my mind every single day. We are resilient. We are diverse. We are beautiful. We are so many good things in this world.

Take the time to read the whole piece.

 

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