On Monday (January 25), President Joe Biden overturned Donald Trump’s ban that prohibited transgender people from serving in the military.
President Biden directed newly-appointed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to put a policy in place that will prohibit discrimination against service members on the basis of their gender identity. Biden is requiring a progress report within 60 days.
President Biden tweeted the announcement, hailing the effort as a way to make the country “safer.”
“Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military,” Biden wrote. “It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.”
During his congressional hearing, Austin said he would reverse the ban, and “to create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity,” as reported by USA Today.
On Monday (January 25), Austin called the reversal of the ban “the right thing to do.” “It is also the smart thing to do,” he added.
“We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and the devotion to serve in uniform,” Secretary Austin said.
He said the Pentagon would immediately move to make sure transgender service members aren’t discharged or denied reenlistment on the basis of gender identity. Transgender service members will also receive coverage for medically-required treatment for transition. A review of troops who were disciplined or had other action taken against them during the Trump administration will also be underway.
An official on the transition team said Biden had originally wanted to rescind the ban on Inauguration Day, but waited to ensure more of his picks were in place at the Pentagon so that things would go smoothly.
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