LGBT advocates in New Jersey joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker at an event in Asbury Park to protest President Trump's push to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.
Transgender Kearny resident Jennifer Long is a retired Army Sergeant Major who served in the military for 30 years including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She says forcing transgender service members out of the military could have a serious impact.
"It depends on how they're discharged and under what circumstances, which could do long term harm to them in the future in civilian careers. We're also looking at the loss of readiness. That loss of talent, 15,000 soldiers and all their skill sets suddenly leaving the military, would be felt across the branches."
Sue Fulton is a former Army Captain and an advocate for the LGBT community. She says transgender service members are serving in many capacities including drill sergeants, commanders, pilots, and doctors.
"These are people we need in our military. The costs of training just three service members to replace the thousands of them, just three, would pay for all the projected transgender health care costs for the entire Army."
Senator Booker says transgender military personnel are serving with honor and distinction and forcing them out would be cruel and discriminatory. He's working on legislation to prevent that.
“We cannot stand for this policy. It will harm the morale of our citizens, of our service members, and would see their brothers and sisters in arms suffer as a result. We currently have transgender Americans forward deployed and they would be ripped away from their units.”