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US sailors will not be judged on whether they are transgender, admiral says

US president Donald Trump proposed a ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military in a series of tweets.

American sailors working on one of the largest and most powerful aircraft carriers in the world will only be judged on their ability to complete the mission and not whether they are transgender, a US admiral has said.

Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, commander of the carrier 2 strike group, was speaking aboard the nuclear-powered super warship USS George HW Bush, which anchored in Stokes Bay, near Portsmouth, on Thursday.

His comments came in the wake of a series of tweets sent by American President Donald Trump, in which he proposed a ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military.

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How the USS George HW Bush compares with the HMS Queen Elizabeth (PA Graphics)

When asked by journalists if he was in favour of the president’s proposal, Rear Admiral Whitesell said it will be “interesting” to see how the issue and policy “plays out”, and stressed he does not have an opinion on it “one way or the other”.

He added: “I’ve got 5,500 sailors that are on board this ship, when you combine the air wing… 7,000 total that operate.

“I’m looking for sailors that can accomplish the mission, and that is all we judge people by.”

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F-18 fighter jets onboard the US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (Andrew Matthews/PA)

In a series of posts on Twitter, Mr Trump said he had taken the decision because US forces “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.

Rear Admiral Whitesell, when quizzed about his thoughts and views, added: “Right now our policy is the same thing that was put out by the White House – they are developing policy for what President Trump tweeted about.

“Once he determines exactly how that policy is going to run, then the way our form of military works, the White House will determine the guidelines for it, the Secretary of Defence will then write the guidelines, those guidelines will go to all of the services, then the services will write their guidelines.”

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