Charlotte transgender veterans speak about president’s new milit - | WBTV Charlotte

Charlotte transgender veterans speak about president’s new military ban

(Alex Giles | WBTV) (Alex Giles | WBTV)

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops serving in the military, two Charlotte veterans are voicing their displeasure with the president’s declaration.

Lara Americo and Janice Covington both served in the military for several years. Americo served in the Air Force and Covington served in the Army.

Both said they were afraid to reveal their true gender identities while serving in the armed forces. Once they left the service, their lives changed.

RELATED: Trump's order: Bar all transgender troops from US military

Americo said she tried to mask her true feelings in the Air Force by acting as masculine as she could.

“It was very hard. I had to create a masculine persona just to navigate. Every time I would go to work there would be a new transphobic comment or homophobic comment and joke,” said Americo.

Covington said she spent years hiding her gender identity to avoid trouble in public.

Both women strongly disagree with the notion that transgender people should not be allowed to serve in the military.

“My hope is that the tweets that Donald Trump made, nothing will come into fruition,” said Americo.

Covington said transgender people should be afforded the same opportunity to fight for their country.

“We bleed like everybody else. We go to war and we will fight like everybody else and we will die like everybody else,” said Covington.

While some are speaking out against the transgender ban, others said they will support it.

Steve Coulson, an Army veteran and a house committee member at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9488 in Charlotte, said he will back the president’s decision even though he claims he personally would have no problem serving alongside a transgender person.

“Me being retired military, maybe I’m a little prejudice, but I agree that I will support our Commander in Chief whatever his decision is,” said Coulson.

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