Transgender JBSA-Randolph airman 'shocked' by ban proposal

Tech Sgt. Jamie Elizabeth Hash planned an Air Force career

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

Tech Sgt. Jamie Elizabeth Hash began her military career in 2011 arming F-15 fighter jets as a man, James Edward Hash.

Hash, a military manpower analyst at JBSA-Randolph Air Force Base, said she kept her secret buried throughout much of her life until she made a fateful decision.

"I need to come out at some point," Hash said. "It was just too long of not living openly and authentically."

Hash's opportunity came in June 2016 when the ban against transgender military service was lifted by then U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. 

"I wanted to transition in the Air Force and make it a career," Hash said.

Related: Trump to reinstate US military ban on transgender people

But in a series of tweets last week announcing a proposed transgender ban, President Donald Trump said the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

However, Hash said according to a study,  the medical costs would be a fraction of health care expenditures by the health care of Defense.

Hash said she compares Trump's "disruption" argument to what was said about ending segregation through civil rights.

She said when she came out to her commander it wasn't "a big deal for the unit."

Related: Celebrities react to Trump's transgender military ban

"My commander fosters an environment of inclusion, dignity and respect," Hash said. "What matters is you can do your job and you can fulfill your mission."

Hash said she considers herself fortunate to have a commander who is accepting of transgender people.

"I know based off of interactions with other transgender people in the military, that's not always the case," Hash said.

She said she hasn't had any problems because the Air Force makes the rules "very clear."

"We follow orders. We follow guidance and we follow policy," Hash said.

She said the Air Force was among first to comply after the transgender ban was lifted.

Hash said of all the distinctions she's earned, "Putting on the uniform that I identified with, was probably the best."

Citing a study in 2014, Hash said it's estimated there were 15,000 transgender troops serving in the U.S. military.

"We're in every career field, every branch. We're deployed all over the world," Hash said.

Until there is a military directive on the proposed transgender ban, Hash said, "I'm going to continue to be the best airman I can be by putting integrity first, service before self and excellence in all that I do."

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