US Coast Guard contacted all 13 transgender service members, pledged to ‘not turn their backs’
President Donald Trump tweeted last week that transgender people will not be allowed in the military “in any capacity”(Coast Guard/Flickr) Adm. Paul Zukunft
President Donald Trump last week tweeted that transgender people will not be allowed in the U.S. Military “in any capacity.” While this did not change or create any policy – yet, Trump’s announcement on a social media platform shocked most people, including those general who advise him. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently said there would be a six-month delay before deciding if transgender people could serve in the military.
Following the announcement, the U.S. Coast Guard personally reached out to its 13 known service members who have come out as transgender, Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft recently said.
“The first thing we did is we reached out to all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have come out,” Zukunft said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., The Hill reported.
The commandant contacted Lt. Taylor Miller, the Coast Guard’s first openly transitioning officer.
“If you read that story [recently featuring Miller in the Washington Post], Taylor’s family has disowned her. … And I told Taylor, I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard and I will not break faith,” Zukunft said, The Hill reported. “And so that was the commitment to our people right now. Very small numbers, but all of them are doing meaningful Coast Guard work today.”
The President last week tweeted: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” Trump said.
Last year, the Pentagon lifted the ban prohibiting transgender people from serving in the military.
At that time, Zukunft released a joint statement with then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, which said: “The U.S. Coast Guard has been involved in the Department of Defense’s extensive review of this issue, and will align its policies with the other military services. All qualified people who wish to serve in our Nation’s military should have the opportunity to do so. Today’s announcement is another important step in that direction.”
The U.S. Coast Guard falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but is also one of the five branches of the U.S. Military; thus, the transgender ban would also apply to the Coast Guard.