By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Don Patton
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors attached to U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) attended Transgender Integration Training, Jan. 17.
The ship’s crew of more than 500 Sailors assembled in Benny Decker Theater aboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka as Capt. Matthew Paradise, Blue Ridge’s Commanding Officer, and Command Master Chief Charles Ziervogel conducted training and disseminated guidance on the Department of the Navy’s transgender policy in SECNAVINST 1000.11.
“The training that we are performing is to inform the crew about recent and upcoming changes to the policies allowing transgender personnel the opportunity to serve in the military,” said Ziervogel. “The Department of Defense has directed that the training be completed by all service personnel regardless of their branch of service. The training is necessary to fully educate service component personnel about the large change in policy and to stress treating all servicemembers fairly and equally in an environment free from discrimination.”
“The training lets everyone know what processes and procedures might happen to potential Sailors,” said Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Hale. “It not only affects the lives of individuals who will join, but of Sailors who are currently serving.”
The stance of the Navy remains that there is a need for men and women, qualified and capable to carry out their ordered assignments and missions, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or gender identity. If any individual can meet standards of service, then they shall be afforded the opportunity to serve in the Navy.
“We are conducting the training to inform personnel of the current and upcoming policies regarding the service of transgender personnel,” continued Ziervogel. “Previously, this was not allowed. The policy has changed to allow transgender personnel to not only serve, but through private, medical assessment, be identified and successfully complete the transition to their preferred sex.”
The policy came as a product of the Department of Defense’s lift on the ban of transgender men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Since the ban was a military regulation and not a federal law, an act of Congress was not needed to officially lift the ban.
“All military units rely on and embrace diversity within their personnel in order to ensure mission goals are met,” continued Ziervogel. “A successful unit is one that has highly trained and qualified personnel.”