Transgender Army Captain: ‘I am a soldier. It's all I know. It's all I want to do’

SEATTLE (KCPQ) — After nearly 13 years of military service, including two combat tours, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace now faces an uncertain future because of President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender people from the military.

"This is who I am. I am a soldier. It's all I know. It's all I've done. It's all want to do," Peace said Wednesday.

Peace serves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and last year she was excited because the Pentagon had just announced transgender people could serve openly.

"It's very validating to hear from your senior leadership that your service is valued and recognized," Peace told Q13 News in 2016.

Photo: KCPQ

That validation was voided Wednesday, after President Donald Trump sent out multiple tweets saying he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity" in the U.S. military.

"Everyday I think about where my career is going to go, so anything that can threaten my career is a concern to me and my family. It's who we are," Peace said.

"Regardless of anything else, I'm going to go into work tomorrow and I'm going to continue to do my job to the best of my ability. And I will continue to do so until I am told otherwise," Peace added.

Trump also tweeted that the U.S. military cannot be "burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

"The word 'burden', I mean, really? It's a burden for people to come in and be who they are and serve honorably? And you're going to call that a burden?" asked Sgt. Jaime Deer with the King County Sheriff's Office.

Deer served in the Coast Guard for four years.

"There's no going back in the closet and we're not going away," Deer said.

We profiled Deer in February, when he shared his experience as one of Washington state's first openly transgender law enforcement officials. He says he wants both active duty and reserve military members within the trans community to know their service isn't a burden.

"There are agencies out there that will hire you. King County is hiring, Seattle, all of us, these departments are fine with it. So there's still going be a place for you," said Deer.

But for Peace, and probably many others already in the military, she doesn't want to do anything else but serve and defend the country as a U.S. soldier.

RELATED: Senators react to ban on transgender people in the military:

Senators react to ban on transgender people in the military
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Senators react to ban on transgender people in the military

"We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are," McCain said.

(Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted in a statement that the date of Trump's announcement coincided with the date President Harry Truman desegregated the military in 1948.

"Sixty-nine years later, President Trump has chosen this day to unleash a vile and hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery," Pelosi said. "This disgusting ban will weaken our military and the nation it defends."

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama was first told of Trump's announcement during a CNN interview, responding that he wanted to read the policy's wording but was sure the Senate will hold hearings on the matter. "You ought to treat everybody fairly and you ought to give everybody a chance to serve," he said.

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran who lost her legs in combat, called the ban "discriminatory and counterproductive to our national security."

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, I didn't care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender or anything else. All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind," Duckworth said in a statement. "If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, or race."

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was asked whether he stood with the state's transgender community, Hatch responded "Yes" on Twitter, then released a longer statement saying "I don't think we should be discriminating against anyone."

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement the military "should not turn away anyone who is willing and able to serve this country and help keep Americans safe."

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The ban is "discrimination, plain and simple," Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California tweeted.

Source: Twitter

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey wrote that Trump is "wrong" and transgender service members are "heroes like anyone else risking their lives to defend us."

Source: Twitter

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


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