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Biden To Overturn Military Restrictions On Transgender Service Members

The president is expected to repeal the Trump-era ban that prevents openly trans Americans from serving in the military as soon as Monday.

President Joe Biden plans to repeal his predecessor’s ban on openly transgender service members in the military as soon as Monday, according to multiple reports.

The new president is expected to sign an executive order overturning the ban at a ceremony with newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CBS News first reported on Sunday, citing one senior Defense official and four outside advocates.

Following Biden’s announcement, Austin will reportedly order the Pentagon to return to the 2016 policy enacted by Obama-era Defense Secretary Ash Carter, which allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the military. The new order will also direct all military branches to outline an implementation plan, according to CBS.

The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment, though Biden repeatedly claimed during his campaign that he would repeal the ban once in office.

Biden reportedly wanted to wait until Austin was confirmed before overturning the ban, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Austin’s first full day of work is Monday, which is when Biden is rumored to overturn the ban.

The new defense secretary expressed support in repealing former President Donald Trump’s transphobic policy during his Senate confirmation hearing last week.

“I truly believe … that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” Austin said at his hearing on Jan. 19. “And you can expect that I will support that throughout.”

In 2017, Trump announced on Twitter his plan to ban transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity,” blaming “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that he alleged came with employing trans service members. 

In 2019, the then-president implemented the policy, which said that trans people could only enlist in the military under the sex they were assigned at birth ― reversing Carter’s policy allowing trans people to serve openly and receive gender-affirming medical care. The order prevented new trans recruits from enlisting, and forced current ones to go back into the closet.

“Ending the trans military ban is huge for trans service-members & veterans, but also for everyone who wants a future free of discrimination,” the National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted on Sunday. “We are proud to have worked on this with the Biden team and so many tireless trans advocates.”