• Recruits of the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, take their pledge to serve during a swearing-in ceremony in the Bendlerblock courtyard. (Getty Images)
“It felt like a smack in the face."
By
Michaela Morgan

13 Nov 2017 - 3:02 PM  UPDATED 13 Nov 2017 - 4:38 PM

Anastasia Biefang—Germany’s first openly transgender military commander—has spoken out against US President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, The Washington Post reports

Biefang said “it felt like a smack in the face” when she first saw President Trump’s July 26 tweet that proposed all trans personnel should be banned from serving, citing expense and disruption. 

“I was really disappointed while reading it because it was actually my belief and impression that the United States armed forces actually [had] a very progressive stance on incorporating transgender [people] into the armed forces,” Biefang told the Washington Post in a video

‘And you know, turning that around, like that, with a few letters and a Tweet, that really surprised me and I thought it was a major setback.”

President Trump sent out a series of tweets in July of this year, announcing that all transgender service people would no longer be eligible for their roles in the military.

Biefang first enlisted in the German armed forces 20 years ago and came out as transgender in 2015. 

“I was at a point personally where I felt—I don’t think “unhappy” is actually a qualified a word enough to describe my emotional state of mind at the time,” she said. 

Biefang added that she wanted to “say who I am in terms of my gender identity and I didn’t care what would happen to me in terms of my professional way ahead in the armed forces.”

She says the process of coming out was better than she could have hoped for and received support in an “understanding environment” as she transitioned. 

Trump says he's doing the military a "great favour" by banning transgender troops
"It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favour by coming out and just saying it."

The military commander estimated that, with the size of the armed forces, there are probably 1300 transgender personnel currently serving. 

She said that she would welcome more trans people to come out and say “Yes, that’s who I am and that’s who I want to be, and I want to be that proud and I want to do that proudly in the German armed forces. 

President Trump’s transgender military ban was recently blocked, in part, by a federal court with Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly writing that the ban was“highly suggestive of a constitutional violation”.

It is still unknown whether or not the Trump administration will continue to push for the ban to be implemented. 

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