Executive director of Milwaukee LGBT Center calls Pres. Trump’s transgender military ban “ridiculous”

President Donald Trump

MILWAUKEE -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday, July 26th announced he's banning those who are transgender from serving in the United States military. Service members who are transgender have been able to serve openly in the military since 2016, when former defense secretary, Ash Carter, ended the ban. The decision is not sitting well with some here in Milwaukee.

The executive director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is calling President Trump's comments disrespectful to service members and veterans who are transgender.

"Which of course is a ridiculous statement," said Karen Gotzler, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center executive director.

On the second floor of her downtown office,  Gotzler said Wednesday she was taken aback by President Trump's tweets supporting this ban.

"Because there are already about 15,000 people who are openly transgender in the military who are serving honorably," said Gotzler.

Karen Gotzler

Gotzler said some 40 percent of those who are transgender, who are involved with the LGBT Community Center are veterans, or  they have a military background.

"In part because it's a way to establish a career, and for many people, it's an opportunity to show, basically, you're as good as everybody else," said Gotzler.

Gotzler said under the Obama administration, LGBT soldiers were feeling more comfortable about serving openly.

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center

"If there is anything that we've learned over the past eight years, it's that it is important -- and people do a better job when they can be everything they are," said Gotzler.

While President Trump is the commander and chief of the nation's military, Gotzler said she hopes just because the president tweets something, doesn't make it so.

"In general, I think we have generally seen an effort continually erode the civil rights and opportunities for LGBT people," said Gotzler.