Local transgender veteran says President Trump's actions are "anti-transgender"

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Joseph Tittsworth served four years in the US Coast Guard in the 1970s. She's now Josephine Tittsworth and calls herself a true patriot.

"I love my country," she said. "I'm so glad to be able to serve my country, have served my country."

When she saw President Trump's tweets Wednesday morning, she was disheartened.

"I'm very unhappy," the Pasadena native told Eyewitness News. "I think he just really, during his campaign I remember him waving around a rainbow flag around saying LGBT for Trump and saying I'm best for you. Duh. I don't think so."

Just a year ago, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military. The reasoning today for the president's position is the associated medical costs and impact on troop readiness. He suggested that allowing transgender Americans to serve would be too heavy a burden.

Marco Roberts, the president of the Houston Log Cabin Republicans, worries that the message comes without any context.

"Excluding transgender individuals solely on the basis of their gender identity is only going to weaken, not strengthen, our military readiness," he said. "He makes a statement, but he doesn't give us any details as to what the advice was or what are the concerns. He says it's concerns about costs or burdens but doesn't tell us what any of that is."

For Tittsworth, she sees a president who doesn't support her or her service.

"His actions are definitely anti-transgender," she said. "The medical costs are nominal. There are so few transgender people in the military right now compared to the whole population, the healthcare cost is nominal."

The White House hasn't said how it would implement the ban or if transgender troops would be forced to quit. What we do know is that the military currently supports the LGBT community and that includes the VA here in the Texas Medical Center.

The Michael DeBakey VA facility is one of 26 across the country that offer specialized programs for LGBT veterans.

It includes Veteran Care Coordinators and provides treatment for transgender veterans, which includes sex hormone treatment, post-operative care and psychotherapy.

It's unclear what might happen to those benefits should the president's tweets ultimately become policy.

Not many in Washington publicly sided with the president's position in the hours after his tweets, though Missouri Representative Republican Vicky Hartzler agrees the financial burden could be too much for taxpayers.

"I had an intern that was denied the ability to go into the military because she had a bunion on her foot, and the argument was that this may cost the military and she may have to go through surgery," said Rep. Hartzler. "Right now we have people who cannot serve in the military with asthma, flat feet, so why would we allow individuals to come in, although they're very patriotic and we appreciate their desire to serve, but who have these medical issues that could be very, very costly?"

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