Defense Department to allow transgender Americans to serve openly in the military
President Joe Biden overturned a Trump-era policy that all but banned transgender people from serving in the US armed forces
The Defense Department has rolled out its new policy allowing transgender Americans to serve openly in the military, an order that follows President Joe Biden’s dismissal of a Trump-era policy that all but banned trans people from serving in the armed forces.
The Pentagon’s new guidance will allow transgender people to join and serve openly in the military — as long as they meet armed service entrances standards — in their “self-identified gender” and will provide access to “medically necessary transition-related care authorized by law,” The Associated Press reported.
“The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect,” the Defense Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Days after moving into the Oval Office, Biden overturned the Trump administration policy that provided strict guidance on how transgender people could serve in the military, according to the AP. The Pentagon then had two months to develop a new regulation, the AP reported.
Trans rights are human rights, and on this #TransDayOfVisibility , I’m pleased to announce we’ve updated DoD policy on the open service of transgender individuals. The update reinforces our prior decision to allow recruitment, retention, and care of qualified trans individuals. pic.twitter.com/JJZhtr7uYI— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) March 31, 2021
“Trans rights are human rights, and on this #TransDayOfVisibility, I’m pleased to announce we’ve updated DoD policy on the open service of transgender individuals,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, a former Army four-star general, said on Twitter. “The update reinforces our prior decision to allow recruitment, retention, and care of qualified trans individuals.”
In a statement, Out in National Security — a group of national security professional who advocate for lesbian, gay and trans rights — said “the administration has made clear that it’s not a matter of simply going back to status quo ante, but that building back better means wholly incorporating transgender service members and then celebrating their service,” according to Task & Purpose.
Military history of the transgender ban
The new policy will go in effect on April 30, 2021, and the Defense Department has provided interim guidance prohibiting “any adverse personnel actions from being taken against transgender service members under the Trump policy and ordered a review of any transgender service members who were involuntarily separated or denied reenlistment due to their gender identity,” Task & Purpose reported.
- In 2017, former President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he would ban transgender people from serving “in any capacity” in the military, and in 2018, the ban became actual policy, according to Task & Purpose.
- “After a lengthy and complicated legal battle and additional reviews, the Defense Department in April 2019 approved a policy that fell short of an all-out ban but barred transgender troops and recruits from transitioning to another sex and required most individuals to serve in what the administration called their ‘birth gender,’” the AP reported.