• US Navy veteran Monica Helms, standing in front of the original Transgender Pride flag she made in 1999. (Youtube / Monica Helms.)Source: Youtube / Monica Helms.
Yesterday, President Trump tweeted that transgender people would no longer be allowed in the US military. Someone who is particularly unhappy about the decision is Monica Helms - the renowned creator of the Transgender Pride flag, and a US Navy veteran.
By
Chloe Sargeant

28 Jul 2017 - 10:53 AM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2017 - 10:53 AM

Yesterday, the LGBTQ+ community all over the world let out a collective groan as President Donald Trump tweeted that he had, after discussion with 'Generals and military experts', decided that transgender people would no longer be allowed in the military. 

This decision has led to enormous backlash from members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike.

Trump tweeted that this decision was made because the US military "must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory", and "cannot be burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption".

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Since the tweets, critics of the Trump administration have pointed out that the health care and medical expenses of transgender troops is far outweighed by other things - including Viagra, and Trump's regular trips to his his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago.

Right now, there's an estimated 15,000 transgender members of the US Armed Forces on active duty, and many trans people have historically made a great impact while serving. One particularly important US veteran is Monica Helms - she happens to be the woman who created the Transgender Pride flag. 

Helms served in the US Navy from 1970 through to 1978, and was assigned to submarines USS Francis Scott Key and USS Flasher in that time.

Helms started "cross-dressing" while in the Navy, telling Atlanta site Creative Loafing that it was the "deepest, darkest secret in [her] entire life". After being reassigned to the Bay Area in '76, Helms felt as though she could come out as a transgender woman. 

She created the transgender flag in 1999 after meeting the person who created the bisexual pride flag, Michael Page.

She marched with her homemade transgender flag for the first time at the 2000 Pride Parade in Phoenix, Arizona, and donated the original flag to the Smithsonian as a historical LGBTQ+ artefact in 2014.

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Helms has been a vocal opponent of the current US President long before his tweets about banning trans military personnel - but this development has obviously angered her greatly. 

She tweeted at Donald Trump, "I pushed 16 nuclear tipped missiles around the Atlantic to keep the Russians from blowing [up] your dumb ass so you can hate me".

Helms told SBS that Trump's decision to ban transgender from the military is a step back for society.

"This is such a horrific event.  While the rest of the world is moving forward in civil rights, we're going back to the 19th Century," says Helms. "Trump is trying to make America like Russia by implementing a strong anti LGBTQ policy. I'm sure Mike Pence is telling Trump to do this.

"We have to be strong and help those Trans troops any way we can."

She also sent a message of support to the 15,000 transgender people currently serving and waiting to hear if they will be discharged, saying, "Just remember, Trump won't be President forever.  You will be serving again."

"Just remember, Trump won't be President forever.  You will be serving again."

It's not yet clear what Trump's tweets mean for transgender people currently serving in the armed forces, or how this decision will be enacted in policy.

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