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Baker: Transgender Soldiers Can Serve In The Mass. National Guard, Despite Trump's Ban

Two soldiers from the 1st 101st Field Artillery of the Massachusetts National Guard walk at Castle Island in Boston in 2017. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
Two soldiers from the 1st 101st Field Artillery of the Massachusetts National Guard walk at Castle Island in Boston in 2017. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Gov. Charlie Baker's administration says transgender soldiers remain welcome in the Massachusetts National Guard, despite President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

In a letter to state legislators, Secretary of Public Safety Thomas Turco said the administration "will continue to support transgender soldiers and airmen in serving our Commonwealth with dignity and respect."

Several Democratic lawmakers who had asked the Republican governor to reject Trump's policy praised the administration's response in a statement Wednesday.

National Guard units are under the command of governors in each state but can be called up to federal service by the president.

Turco also promised assistance for Massachusetts residents seeking waivers from the transgender ban to serve in the U.S. military. Waivers can be granted on a case-by-case basis under the federal policy.

In January, the Supreme Court reinstated Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military by granting a stay of two lower court injunctions that had blocked the policy. Trump first announced his ban in July of 2017, a year after the Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender service members.

With additional reporting from the WBUR Newsroom

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