U.S. Navy secretary says 'any patriot'
should be able to serve
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[August 12, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Navy
Secretary Richard V. Spencer said he would follow directions from the
president on transgender people in the military but believes "any
patriot" should be allowed to serve.
Spencer, speaking to reporters on Thursday on a visit to Naval Station
Norfolk in Virginia, said he would abide by any policy the Pentagon
provides to the armed forces on the transgender issue.
However, Spencer said he believes that, on a fundamental basis, "any
patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be
able to serve in our military," according to news reports.
President Donald Trump announced on Twitter last month that he would ban
transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity,"
reviving a ban that had ended in 2016.
Trump's announcement created vast uncertainty for active-duty and
reserve transgender service members, who say they number in the
thousands. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
said in a memo a day after Trump's tweet that there would be no change
in policy until Defense Secretary James Mattis received an official
order from the president. That order has not been issued.
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U.S. Navy sailors stand in the audience as President Donald Trump
participates in the commissioning ceremony of the aircraft carrier
USS Gerald R. Ford at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia,
U.S. July 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A week after the announcement, the U.S. Coast Guard commandant,
Admiral Paul Zukunft, offered support for transgender members of his
On Wednesday, five transgender members of the U.S. military,
including Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, sued Trump over the
transgender ban, saying he made the announcement without consulting
senior military commanders.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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