'Ignorant and hurtful:' Transgender Marine blasts Trump tweets

According to a 2016 RAND study, between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender men and women are already serving on active duty.

LEESBURG, VA (WUSA9) - Just off Battlefield Parkway, Connie Rice proudly flies her Marine Corps flag.

"I loved the Marine Corps. I loved the Marines I worked with," said the former Marine and proud parent of three sons.

Rice was outwardly a male when she served in the Marines decades ago during the Iran Hostage crisis.

RELATED: Trump seeks to ban transgender troops from serving in U.S. military 'in any capacity'

"After you live in the dirt with somebody, who cares," she said, quoting a LGBTQ activist. "You just want them to be happy."

Rice kept her gender identity deeply hidden when she served.

"If I came out at that time I would have been immediately discharge. A bad discharge, as a deviant."

She rejoiced when President Obama opened the military to transgender people. And now that President Trump has apparently reversed the new transgender policy, she's sad and angry.

"This is a slap in the face at people who have put themselves in harm's way for this country....I know lawyers, doctors, computer people who will be kicked out of the military," she said. 

Critics say losing all those skilled people would cost the military far more than transgender health care. In fact, the Pentagon says it spends $42 million on Viagra, and $84 million on erectile dysfunction treatment. A Rand Corporation study suggests the Defense Department would spend one tenth of that,  $8.4 million, on transgender health.

"Trans care isn't as expensive as pregnancy. Do we want to kick out pregnant people because it's too expensive?," asked Rice.

She has a hard time moderating her words when it comes to the Commander in Chief.

"We're talking about someone who claimed to have bone spurs to get out of the military during Vietnam. Apparently they went away as soon as he saw a golf course," she said. 

The battle over transgender rights only seems to add to America's partisan divisions.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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