After two months of review, the Pentagon began rolling out new rules on Wednesday that would undo anti-transgender military policies and expand gender-related healthcare access to assist those serving in the armed forces, the AP reports. The change would also ban gender-identity discrimination in the military, and allow eligible people to enlist with their self-identified gender, officials with the Defense Department told the outlet. It is estimated that at least 14,700 active military members identify as transgender.
Such rules were set to go into effect during the Obama administration, when the then-president announced that transgender members of the military were allowed to serve openly, and that a year later, they would be permitted to enlist. Things quickly took a 180-degree turn when Donald Trump took office in 2017, and announced that transgender people would not be allowed to serve “in any capacity,” according to the AP. In 2019, the Defense Department required that people serve in their “birth gender,” and prohibited people from transitioning to another gender while serving, including those with gender dysphoria.