President Joe Biden signed an executive order overturning the Trump administration’s ban on the service of transgender individuals in U.S. military.
The order makes it clear that all transgender individuals who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination.
Biden revoked Donald Trump’s order in 2017 to bar transgender persons, in almost all circumstances, from joining the Armed Forces and from being able to take steps to transition gender while serving.
In the order, Biden directed the Defense Secretary and the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that all directives, orders, regulations and policies of their respective departments are consistent with the new order.
“What I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform and essentially restoring the situation as it existed before with transgender personnel,” Biden told reporters.
“This means no one will be separated or discharged, or denied reenlistment, solely on the basis of gender identity,” the White House said in a statement. “Prospective recruits may serve in their self-identified gender when they have met the appropriate standards for accession into the military services,” it added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the cases of those transgender service members who were discharged or separated because of their gender identity will be reexamined.
Following the presidential order, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin instructed the military departments to immediately ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender.
“Over the next 60 days, I look forward to working with the senior civilian and military leaders of the department as we expeditiously develop the appropriate policies and procedures to implement these changes,” Austin said.
In 2016, a study by the Pentagon found that enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs. The study also concluded that open transgender service has had no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.
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