COLUMBIA – A rally was held to speak out against what some are calling discriminatory polices and legislation, following President Donald Trump's announced ban on transgender people in the military.
Dozens of people attended Thursday's rally, held by a democratic candidate for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, Renee Hoagenson.
“We’re having a rally here today to protest the discrimination that has gone on against transgender military personnel serving in our military,” Hoagenson said. “Discrimination of any kind is wrong and, when you consider our military personnel are putting their life on the line, and then to be discriminated against, it’s a crime.”
Hoagenson also spoke out against Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, whom she is running to replace. Hartzler released a statement Wednesday supporting Trump's decision.
“Vicky Hartzler in particular has repeatedly brought forward legislation that is anti-gay and ant-LGBTQ,” Hoagenson said.
She referred to a report that showed 18 countries have transgender personnel serve in the military.
“There is no issue of readiness. There is no issue of morale, there are no problems in the units, whatsoever," Hoagenson said. "So to say that we need to ban military personnel from serving, it’s just hate, it’s just bigotry and prejudice.”
Hartzler said Wednesday having transgender people in the military is a "disruption" and said the costs for treating them are a burden.
"With the challenges we are facing across the globe, we are asking the American people to invest their hard-earned money in national defense. Each dollar needs to be spent to address threats facing our nation.
Hoagenson said the cost argument is a red herring.
“The reality is that, considering how many people would actually have any sort of medical treatment, it would be roughly three million to eight million dollars per year, which is only a tenth of one percent of the military health care budget,” Hoagenson said. “The military budget overall is 797 billion dollars. We’re talking about at the top end eight million dollars in costs.”
Hoagensen said if Trump cut back on his spending, it would cover those costs.
“Which is roughly two weekends for Donald trump to golf by the way,” Hoagenson said. “So if he stayed home two weekends, we could give all the medical care that would be required to our troops.”
Hoagenson said it’s important not to tolerate discrimination of any kind.
“I think we need to be careful to protect the rights of all our citizens,” Hoagenson said. “That is very important.”