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Coast guard admiral vows to support transgender service members

(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)A rainbow flag flies as people protest President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York City, New York.

The Admiral of the US Coast Guard has vowed to continue supporting transgender service members despite President Donald Trump's announcement last week that transgenders will not be allowed to serve in the military.

On Tuesday, Commandant Paul Zukunft told the Center for Strategic and International Studies forum that the first thing he did after he learned of the announcement was to have his office reach out to 13 transgender members of the Coast Guard.

"I reached out personally to Lt. Taylor Miller, who was featured on the cover of The Washington Post last week," Zukunft said, as reported by Military.com.

"If you read that story, Taylor's family has disowned her. Her family is the United States Coast Guard. 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,'" he added.

Miller, 27, is believed to be the first openly transitioning member of the Coast Guard. Her transitioning process began in 2016 when the Pentagon lifted the ban on openly transgender service members.

Trump announced in three tweets on July 26 that transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve "in any capacity" in the U.S. Military, citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

The announcement prompted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to announce that no policy changes will take place until the administration issues a clearer guidance to the services.

On Tuesday, the Palm Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that promotes the study of gay and transgender people in the armed forces, released a letter signed by 56 retired generals and admirals who disapprove of Trump's transgender ban.

The letter also pointed out that two other four-stars and former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, namely retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, have publicly expressed their support for transgender service members.

The Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian public policy ministry in Washington D.C., commended Trump's decision to overturn the Obama-era policy allowing transgender service members.

"As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender 'sensitivity' classes and politically-correct distractions like this one," FRC President Tony Perkins, a military veteran, said in a statement last week following Trump's announcement.

The White House has not issued any additional guidance, leaving the fate of the estimated currently-serving 4,000 transgender service members in limbo.

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