One of the highest-ranking officers in the California National Guard promised lawmakers on Tuesday that California will not remove transgender soldiers and airmen from its ranks despite efforts by President Trump’s administration to bar transgender people from serving in the Armed Forces, reports the Sacramento Bee.
“As long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as,” Major General Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard, told the California State Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
“I believe the ban (on transgender troops) will be lifted again.”
He told lawmakers that he knew of two transgender people in the California National Guard, but said that the agency does not have an official count.
“At the end of the day, we’re not compelled to measure it, so we don’t,” Beevers said.
“Nobody’s going to kick you out,” he said, referring to people in the California National Guard who might be considering transitioning.
“What the California National Guard said, and what we’ve said in our lawsuit, is that the military ought to treat them just like every other servicemember,” a spokesperson for Equality California told The Advocate.
The Bee notes: “The Rand Corp. in June 2016 released a study that concluded fewer than 6,630 transgender people serve in the military, that only a fraction of them seek gender-related medical treatments and that their gender-transition health costs would be “relatively low” at less than $8.4 million a year.”
Last month, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision allowed President Donald Trump’s 2017 ban on transgender military service members, which he announced on Twitter, to proceed.
However, one injunction against the ban is still working its way through the appeals process and is currently blocking the implementation of the ban.
“We’re still waiting on the court order to lift,” a spokeswoman for the Defense Department told Stars and Stripes. “If that happens, we’ll have more information.”