President Joe Biden on Monday signed an executive order repealing the April 2019 ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
In a press release announcing the move, the Biden administration stated that “that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve.”
“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service and that America’s strength is found in its diversity. This question of how to enable all qualified Americans to serve in the military is easily answered by recognizing our core values,” the statement reads.
“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.”
The reversal of the controversial policy that President Donald Trump announced in a Twitter thread in July 2017 has been widely expected after Biden vowed to make the policy change “on Day One” of his administration.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also said during his confirmation last week he supports reversing the policy that transgender people would be barred from serving in the military “in any capacity.” A 2016 Department of Defense survey estimated at least one percent of active-duty troops were transgender.
“We are so excited. This is such an amazing opportunity for so many people to be able to reach their full potential within the service,” Lt. Col. Bree Fram, an active duty astronautical engineer in the U.S. Air Force and a spokesperson for the trans military advocacy organization Spart*a, told The Daily Beast.
Fram expects the lifting of the ban to “take weeks to months” for the Department of Defense to implement.
Trump’s ban, officially enacted in 2019, affected both those trans people serving in the military who did not receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before the policy went into place, as well as those wanting to join the service.
Since the ban went into effect, those serving without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria have been forced to serve in their sex assigned at birth and are not able to access medical care or receive gender-affirming surgery.
Spart*a said this group numbers anywhere between 2,000 and 13,000 troops.
The ban also affected those trans people wanting to join the military, who were taking hormones and/or already having undergone gender transition, and who were effectively prevented from even applying to join the service.