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Transgender Army captain: ‘This is who I am. I am a soldier. It’s all I want to do’

SEATTLE — After nearly 13 years of military service, including two combat tours, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace now faces an uncertain future because of President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military.

“This is who I am. I am a soldier. It’s all I know. It’s all I’ve done. It’s all want to do,” Peace said Wednesday.

Peace serves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and last year she was excited because the Pentagon had just announced transgender people could serve openly.

“It’s very validating to hear from your senior leadership that your service is valued and recognized,” Peace told Q13 News in 2016.

That validation was voided Wednesday, after President Donald Trump sent out multiple tweets saying he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military.

“Everyday I think about where my career is going to go, so anything that can threaten my career is a concern to me and my family. It’s who we are,” Peace said.

“Regardless of anything else, I’m going to go into work tomorrow and I’m going to continue to do my job to the best of my ability. And I will continue to do so until I am told otherwise,” Peace added.

Trump also tweeted that the U.S. military cannot be “burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

“The word ‘burden’, I mean, really? It’s a burden for people to come in and be who they are and serve honorably? And you’re going to call that a burden?” asked Sgt. Jaime Deer with the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Deer served in the Coast Guard for four years.

“There’s no going back in the closet and we’re not going away,” Deer said.

We profiled Deer in February, when he shared his experience as one of Washington state’s first openly transgender law enforcement officials. He says he wants both active duty and reserve military members within the trans community to know their service isn’t a burden.

“There are agencies out there that will hire you. King County is hiring, Seattle, all of us, these departments are fine with it. So there’s still going be a place for you,” said Deer.

But for Peace, and probably many others already in the military, she doesn't want to do anything else but serve and defend the country as a U.S. soldier.