COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - On Monday a federal judge declined the U.S. government's request to put on hold an order that would allow transgender people to enlist in the military.
While the new order allows transgender people to enlist this upcoming year, they're required to pass a strict set of medical guidelines to join.
"The most important thing is: Can the people who are assigned to that mission, do the mission? It's not about race, it's not about gender. It's not about their ethnicity. It's about: Can you do that job?" said Laura Meeks, who served 17 years as a major in the United States Air Force.
"I'm flying around as this macho bomber guy, knowing that, inside, if they only knew what I felt like, it would have been a lot different. If I could have presented as my authentic self," said Meeks who is now a life coach, she said Monday's court order is a win for the transgender community and the military.
"I think that just frees those military members to do their jobs. Don't worry whether we're hunting your own. Worry about your job, and I think that's the most important thing anybody wants. When you're in battle with someone, you want them to know they are concentrating and we need to make sure we're coming home. That's what we need to be worrying about," said Meeks.
There is a lengthy list of criteria transgender applicants must meet prior to enlisting. It includes being stable in the preferred gender for 18 months or stable on hormone medication for 18 months, along with a number of other physical and mental tests.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during a White House briefing Monday morning that the Trump administration is complying for now and the Department of Justice is reviewing the legal options to ensure Trump's directive can be implemented.