President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday reversing Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the U.S. military.
President Biden’s order “sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve, the White House said in a statement. “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.”
The order “immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity,” the White House said. And directs the immediate “correction of” military records for any who had been affected by Trump’s ban.
The move is supported by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said at confirmation hearing last week: “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.”
In 2018 Trump announced that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” could not serve in the millitary “except under certain limited circumstances.” The US Supreme Court lifted injunctions from lower courts that blocked the policy in a 5-4 ruling.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, about 15,000 transgender Americans are enlisted in the military.