RILEY, VIRGINIA — For the last six months, 19 year old Kristine Mullins has been preparing herself for her life in the U.S. Army. Mullins decided early last year to enlist after a couple of semesters of junior college in her hometown. Kristine says she decided to defer her education a few years so that she could pay for tuition at a four year university with her GI bill after her enlistment was up.
Kristine says as soon as she walked out of the recruitment office, she headed to the gym and started a membership. She wanted to “get out in front of” the basic training she’d be getting in the army, and she wanted to be as ready as she could be for the physical demands her new job would have on her. Mullins’ family and friends told her they would be sad to see her go for extended periods of time, but that they were all proud of her, she says.
Mullins had always been a “bright” student, growing up, her mother told us. She excelled at anything she tried, and she stayed committed to her grades and was accepted into a handful of colleges, but she couldn’t accept their invitations to matriculate because the student loans would cripple her financially for years to come. So, the army seemed like her best bet after she realized junior college wasn’t quite right for her.
Everything seemed like Kristine was on the path she wanted to be on to make the life for herself that she felt most proud of. Then, last night, the Trump administration dropped a bombshell on her, and countless other recruits like Kristine. That’s because at 10:30 pm last night, President Trump ordered a moratorium on the recruitment of transgender individuals for the armed forces. Because Mullins is transgender — she was born as Mark, a boy, and came out as transgender in her sophomore year of high school — her recruitment status is now in jeopardy.
“I’m honestly not sure if I’m going to be allowed to serve now,” Kristine told us via Skype. “I love this country. It believes in freedom and liberty so much that the large majority of people in it don’t see me as transgender, they just see me as me. I know that in other countries I could be stoned to death for who I am, and hell, there are some in this country who would probably do the same…maybe even the vice president. But the point is, now? I don’t know that my country loves me enough to let me sacrifice my life for it.”
Kristine says she’s “very confused” by Trump’s transgender ban because she feels she’s in “very good physical condition” and that she is “more than qualified to do the job.” She says her gender identity doesn’t factor into her patriotism or desire to make a better future for herself through service to her country.
“I’d put my uniform on the same way as any soldier would,” Mullins told us. “So this is absurd to me, really. I mean, do they think I’m going to be in combat and unable to perform my duties because I’m worried about something to do with my genitals?”
To ensure that the president knows she is in peak condition and can handle the job, Kristine says she wrote a letter to President Trump personally. In the letter, she assures Mr. Trump that she has “no physical maladies” that would prevent her being “best soldier [she] can be.”
“I don’t even have any bone spurs or anything, sir,” Kristine read us her letter. “So I can promise you, I won’t be running away from danger. I will not take a coward’s way out, if duty calls, sir! All you have to do is let me and my fellow transgender Americans serve, just as we have been for over a year, and I will make the country proud, sir.”
As of yet, Kristine has not received a response from the White House. The transgender troop ban allows troops currently serving to stay, but largely bans transgender personnel for most positions. During the campaign of 2016, Trump promised to be an ally of the LGBT community. This morning, Trump explained his apparent about face on the issue.
“Oh, you see, I thought LGBT stood for Leprechauns, Gary Bussey, and Trump,” the president said while scuffling off to his golf course in the nation’s capital. “So you know, bing-bang-boom, presidential! A-cha-cha!”