President Biden lifts the Ban on Transgender Americans from serving in the Military

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday revoking a presidential memorandum from former President Donald Trump that disqualified most transgender individuals from military service, reversing the controversial policy in an anticipated move in his first week in office.

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When Mr. Trump first announced his transgender service ban in 2017, he said the military needed to focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory” and not be weighed down by “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members and medical procedures. The move went into effect in 2019, and excluded individuals from serving if they did not remain their biological sex at birth. The Obama administration in 2016 had allowed transgender service members to serve without fearing they could be kicked out, and helped them receive medical services for the transition process.

Lloyd Austin, the newly confirmed secretary of defense, said he supported repealing the ban at his Senate confirmation hearing.

“I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban,” Austin said when asked by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I truly believe, senator, that as I said in my opening statement, that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve. And, you can expect that I will support that throughout.”

Mr. Biden’s move drew immediate praise from groups like the Human Rights Campaign. 

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