February 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm PDT | by Staff reports
Calif. National Guard General reassures trans military service members

Major General Matthew Beevers (Courtesy California National Guard)

Major General Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard, told lawmakers during his testimony before the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee Tuesday that the California Guard was going to defy the Trump Administration’s ban on Transgender military personnel.

“As long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as,” Beevers said.

Beevers testimony came one month after the U. S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision without comment granted a Justice Department petition to allow the Trump Administration to enforce the ban while challenges to the policy play out in the lower courts. The earliest the Supreme Court could act on the issue would be during its next term, which begins in the fall of 2019.

One more appeal, from Maryland, is still delaying the administration from fully enacting its ban on new enlistments from people who identify as transgender.

Trump’s directive has been blocked by Federal district court judges in California, Washington, D.C., and Washington state issued orders blocking the policy nationwide. They said it most likely amounted to unconstitutional discrimination and rejected the administration’s claims that military readiness was at issue.  In California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined with LGBTQ rights organization Equality California in that lawsuit.

In a July 2017 tweet, President Trump announced that he would end a policy, begun during the Obama administration, that allows transgender men and women to serve openly and to have the government pay for gender-reassignment surgery.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity,” Trump tweeted. “Our 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.”

Speaking to the gathered Assemblymembers Beevers said, “I believe the ban will be lifted again.” He also noted that there are two openly Trans Airmen serving in the California National Guard and acknowledged that there are more but noted that the Guard does not count them.

“At the end of the day, we’re not compelled to measure it, so we don’t,” he said.

Beevers stated that transgender personnel in the National Guard would be allowed to continue to serve if they pursue gender reassignment surgery.

“Nobody’s going to kick you out,” he said.

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