Transgender military ban sparks protests

WASHINGTON —Protesters gathered in New York's Times Square to criticize President Donald Trump's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military as trans veterans voiced disappointment about the reversal in policy.

"We just lost everything we worked for," said Vietnam veteran Rebecca McDonald.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Trump wrote, "The United States Government will not accept or allow....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

"This was about military readiness, this was about unit cohesion, this was about resources within the military," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday.

But Jennifer Long, a transgender woman who served in the military for 29 years, said the talent pool is made that much smaller with transgender individuals not being able to serve.

Mr. Trump also said it was about the "tremendous medical costs," but a 2016 study found those costs would add less than $9 million to the more than $500 billion defense budget.

Estimates of the number of transgender people already serving range from 1,300 to 15,000.

They were officially welcomed into the military just last June.

No time table has been set for implementing the policy.