At the end of MoHagani Magnetek’s eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard, the Pentagon began taking steps to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the discriminatory policy that barred open service for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from 1993 to 2011. But transgender service members would have to wait an additional five years, until 2016, to serve openly—a policy change the Trump administration attempted to halt in 2017. MoHagani is a transgender woman, meaning she was born male but felt from a young age that she is female, and so she transitioned and now lives as the woman she has long known herself to be.
“I felt really good for my friends and my shipmates who are on active duty, and now I feel really horrible,” she said. “People have jobs and families. This is their career, and this administration is talking about taking that away.”