Despite President Donald Trump's controversial Twitter announcement last week that his administration would bar transgender people from serving in the military, The Hill reports that U.S. Coast Guard officials will still support trans members, according to statements made by Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft on Tuesday.
At a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington Zukunft told attendees that, following the president's announcement, "the first thing [officials] did is we reached out to all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have come out" as transgender.
He also described a conversation with Lt. Taylor Miller, the Coast Guard's first officer openly transitioning, whose story was in a recent Washington Post article. Zukunft said that he the Coast Guard would show continue to show loyalty to her and her fellow transgender colleagues:
The head of the Coast Guard is challenging Trump’s ban on trans people in the military, and also sending a message to his service members: pic.twitter.com/qmosYT7Ywq— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 1, 2017
Trump first announced his ban on Wednesday of last week, stating that transgender Americans wouldn't be allowed to serve in the U.S. military "in any capacity" in a series of tweets:
The Hill reports that Zukunft reached out to former-Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly — who was sworn in as White House chief of staff on Monday — about the announcement. Kelly then reached out to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was reportedly caught off-guard by the tweets, alongside other service leaders and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Dunford on not implementing trans military ban yet: "In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect." pic.twitter.com/y0FrmLBbVX— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) July 27, 2017
Zukunft's statements follow those from Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, who told fellow chiefs of military branches that they would continue to "treat all of [their] personnel with respect" despite the statements. As Dunford wrote in the internal communication provided to POLITICO last week:
While activists and allies of the transgender community remain troubled by the various implications of Trump's transgender military ban, an explicit show of support from military leaders is a notable first step to protecting trans people in service.