US President Joe Biden on Monday overturned a ban by his predecessor Donald Trump on transgender individuals serving in the US military.
“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 White House said in a statement.
This is a move that fulfills a campaign promise and will be cheered by LGBTQ advocates. Flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Biden signed the executive order in the Oval Office.
The new order immediately prohibits any service member from being forced out of the military on the basis of gender identity. The order also directs the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to take steps to implement the order for the military and the Coast Guard. And it says they must re-examine the records of service members who were discharged or denied reenlistment due to gender identity issues under the previous policy. It requires the departments to submit a report to the President on their progress within 60 days.
The move to overturn the transgender ban is also the latest example of Mr. Biden using executive authority in his first days as President to dismantle Mr. Trump's legacy. His early actions include orders to overturn a Trump administration ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, stop construction of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, and launch an initiative to advance racial equity.
"It's simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride," Biden said on Twitter after the signing.
Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 25, 2021