President Joe Biden signs an Executive Order reversing the Trump era ban on transgender individuals serving in military, in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in Washington.
President Biden rescinded his predecessor’s ban on transgender people in the U.S. military on Monday, ripping the restrictions as irrational and detrimental to “our core values.”
In addition to immediately scrapping the transgender ban implemented by former President Donald Trump in 2018, Biden used his executive power to require the Department of Defense to reinstate any service members who were discharged or denied enlistment because of it.
“America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception,” Biden wrote in the executive order reversing Trump’s ban. “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.”
The Trump ban blocked individuals from enlisting in the military if they had been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria. It also held that individuals could only enlist in accordance with their birth sex.
In announcing the service restrictions in July 2017, Trump claimed they were justified because transgender troops rack up “tremendous medical costs.
However, Biden noted Trump’s reasoning was belied by a Pentagon-commissioned study.
“In 2016, a comprehensive study requested by the Department of Defense found that enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs,” Biden’s order said. “The study also concluded that open transgender service has had no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.”
New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who joined Biden for his signing of the order, pledged to “expeditiously” reexamine cases where transgender troops may have been subjected to “adverse administrative proceedings.”
“This is the right thing to do,” Austin said in a statement. “It is also the smart thing to do.”
According to Pentagon data, some 14,700 U.S. troops on active duty and in the reserves identified as transgender in 2019.