Veterans who served as Army mechanics split on Pres. Trump’s decision to ban transgender troops

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Is it a move meant to fortify the United States military?

Some say President Donald's Trump's decision to exclude transgender people from service in the armed forces an expression of hate. The U.S. president announced that move on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning.

That original Tweet was sent while many people in the Kansas City metro were having their breakfast. Throughout the day, military members considered the president's bold statement, choosing their side on the issue.

"I am a woman. It's not about identifying. I am who I am," Larissa Shively-Vitt, a retired U.S. Army aircraft mechanic, said on Wednesday.

Shively-Vitt, a native of Bonner Springs, Kan., served six years in the military. In 2001, she made the decision to undergo transgender reassignment procedures, transitioning from a male to the present-day female. She is now retired from active duty, and working as an author.

"(Pres. Trump's) decision, his Tweets have an effect on the entire country," Shively-Vitt, who did a tour of duty in Bosnia, told FOX 4 News.

"There are so many in the military who have come out or who are ready to come out. This decision is going to force them back into the closet or even worse."

Shively-Vitt says anyone who's able should be permitted to serve, regardless of their lifestyle. She fears excluding members of the transgender community would result in an uptick in depression for military personnel. She's among those who point to a Tweet President Trump posted in 2016, during his campaign for the presidency. In that Tweet, Mr. Trump promised to support the LGBT community.

On the other hand, Olathe, Kan. resident David Snelling says the president is correct to take this stance. The father of five served eight years in the U.S. Army, working as a helicopter mechanic.

"People fail to realize this isn't an all-inclusive club," Snelling told FOX 4 News, speaking supportively of President Trump's decision.

Snelling says he's in full support of the president, because, as Snelling said, people undergoing gender reassignment aren't emotionally ready for the rigors of battle.

"My first reaction was, 'Wow. What a strong step forward of leadership. What a move in the right direction'," Snelling said.

"Whether you believe they're correct in their transition, whether you're for their transition or not, that has nothing to do with the fact this emotional transition they're going through is an incredible distraction. A distracted soldier gets people killed."

President Trump also Tweeted his concern that transgender people might cost the military too much money in medical expenses. Snelling agreed, saying the government shouldn't pay for the procedures involved. Shively-Vitt says the whole ban are merely hate speech.

President Trump did not disclose his plans for the existing transgender people who are actively serving the military, or a proposed start date for the ban.