President Joe Biden made good on one of his campaign pledges this week by repealing the Trump administration’s 2019 guidance that banned transgender people from enlisting and serving in the military.
Monday’s executive order “immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity,” a White House statement sent to HuffPost and other media outlets read.
The long-anticipated move reinstates a 2016 Obama administration policy that allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. It was announced by the White House at Monday’s ceremonial swearing in of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has said he supports the decision.
Less than a year into his presidency, Trump announced plans to ban trans people from serving in the military in “any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that he claimed comes with employing trans personnel.
“The greatest military in the world will again value readiness over bias, and qualifications over discrimination,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David told HuffPost in an email statement.
Added GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, “The American people, military leaders, and service members themselves, all overwhelmingly support transgender military service. They know that brave trans patriots have served throughout history and continue to serve honorably and capably, defending our country.”
Lawmakers, celebrities and and other LGBTQ rights advocates also approved.
In addition to Monday’s executive order, the president has pledged to prioritize the Equality Act, a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill. Last month, he made history by nominating his former primary rival Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. If successful, Buttigieg will become the first openly gay man to be confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet post.