Transgender Pinellas man, a former National Guard member, weighs in on military ban

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It was a swift and divisive decision by President Donald Trump.

“I was kind of surprised and caught off guard a little bit,” said retired Air Force Col. Jim Waurishuk.

Waurishuk lives in Dover and didn’t expect the President to make the call to ban transgender people in the military so quickly.

Gen. James Mattis was in the process of reviewing it.

“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 in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning  “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.”

The statement ended with “thank you.”

“We can’t have someone who’s going through a transgender transition who’s lined off and has to remain in a recovery situation,” Waurishuk said.

“It is blatant discrimination,” said Nathan Bruemmer of Pinellas County.

Bruemmer is transgender and served in the Florida National Guard.

“I have many friends who served, and who are serving openly right now, so it’s just a slap in the face to the troops to wake up to this news this morning,” Bruemmer told News Channel 8.

A study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense shows between 1,300 and 6,600 transgender people serve in the military and have “minimal impact.”

Bruemmer sees it as politics at play.

“To use that kind of rhetoric, whether in the military or not, is offensive,” he said.


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