Transgender Vet: Trump's a 'Traitor to Every Veteran Out There' - NECN
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Transgender Vet: Trump's a 'Traitor to Every Veteran Out There'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rebecca McDonald, who served in the Air Force when she was known as Ralph McDonald during the Vietnam War, is reacting to President Donald Trump's announcement that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military.

    (Published Thursday, July 27, 2017)

    Rebecca McDonald wears her service proudly, with a hat and lanyard covered in military insignia.

    "I'm Air Force. May of 1973 to August of 1980," she explained.

    Today, she does not resemble the young mechanic who spent most of her time working at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire. Today, she does not recognize the man she was back then.

    "Ralph is my name. Back then, they didn't tolerate anything," McDonald said, "If you came out, you were in the grave."

    Over the years, McDonald said she was encouraged by the evolving policies in the military, including the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell under the Obama administration.

    That is why she was so discouraged by the transgender ban just announced by President Trump.

    "I thought he was a traitor to every veteran out there and every service person serving our country right now," McDonald said, "He just stabbed everybody in the back."

    While it is unclear when and how service members will be impacted, the change from Washington received harsh criticism in Boston.

    "To me, personally, it's disgusting," said Robert Santiago of OUTVETS, a group for LGBT veterans.

    As a Navy veteran, who is openly gay, Santiago said he was deeply concerned for active duty service men and women who could now be kicked out of the military.

    In the coming weeks, OUTVETS plans to coordinate with other groups in the Boston area to combat the new policy. While they don't have a concrete plan in place, they said the Trump administration can expect pushback.

    "We are not going to stand for service members who are serving right now, who are serving honorably, that they're being told, 'Oh, now you can't serve anymore,'" he said. "It can't happen."

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