President Joe Biden has signed an executive order overturning Donald Trump’s highly contested ban on trans people serving in the US military.
Trump announced the military ban in July 2017, which later went into effect in 2019, blocking new enlistments of trans people. Biden’s new policy, set in an executive order, has now overturned this controversial act.
A White House fact sheet states, “America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception. Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”
Following on from the release of the fact sheet, an official executive order reads, “It shall be the policy of the United States to ensure 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.”
In Biden’s order, the White House cited numerous sources contesting the validity of Trump’s ban. It quotes a 2016 study that found “enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and health care cost.”
Biden’s removal of Trump’s ban has been widely celebrated by the LGBTQ+ community in America. Former Air Force Captain and trans veteran, Dr Laura Ann Weaver, shared how this policy presents a much needed first step towards equality. Speaking with WCPO, Weaver expressed, “Transgender people want to serve, and they serve honorably. There’s no reason why transgender people cannot serve.”
Jennifer N Pritzker, a trans woman who spent 27 years in the US Army, told abc 7 that the policy change sent a powerful message to her community and the rest of the country. She said, “LGTBQ people- they’re citizens. They pay taxes. And they should be permitted to serve where they are qualified to serve and there are plenty of them who are.”
Further speaking on the significance of Biden overturning the trans military ban, LGBTQ+ & HIV Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois, John Knight, said, “Thousands of people have been serving in the military successfully. So it’s just so wonderful that they have this cloud taken away from them and they can serve openly without worrying.”
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