By: Erin Lisch | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 25, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – More than 1.5 million veterans live in Florida and over 700,000 live in Georgia.
In 2011, veteran Barbara Ann Myers officially transitioned from a man to a woman.
Myers was a member of the U.S. Navy for six years and served in the Vietnam War. She said, "We served to protect the freedoms of all."
Myers was left disappointed after President Trump's tweets Wednesday, banning anyone who is transgender from serving in the military.
"It's just sad to see such bigotry still going on," said Myers.
Veteran Joe West backed President Trump's words, "After I saw the tweet I was like, 'yes, thank you. It's about time.'"
Rand Corporation reports there almost 7,000 active transgender military personnel and nearly 4,000 in the reserves.
"If you're going to do it after the military, I've got no problem at all," said West.
Rand data also finds gender transition would increase military health care costs by up to $8.4 million yearly. The U.S. Department of Defense currently spends $49.3 billion on health care.
"The United States military is not the place to make that decision and decide to change your life that way," said West.
West added it's a distraction to the mission of the military.
Myers says you have to be true to yourself.
"It has to be for everybody. Rights for everybody."
President Trump's tweets have now sparked a heated debate, here at home and nationwide, regarding who can serve and protect our country.
Just over a year ago, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a policy allowing transgender people to openly serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. That policy had to be implemented completely by the first of July this year.