The new US president issues an order overturning a Pentagon rule that had banned transgender people from military service.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Monday rescinding the Trump administration’s policy that prohibited transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a barrier to military service, and that America’s strength lies in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement announcing the order.
New Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin supports lifting of the ban. Biden met Austin in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday ahead of Austin’s swearing-in ceremony.
“If you are fit and qualified to serve and can maintain standards, you should be allowed to serve,” Austin told a Senate committee last week.
Former President Donald Trump first ordered a ban on transgender people serving in the US military in 2017. The order was challenged in federal courts as discriminatory, revised by Trump in 2018 and ultimately authorized to take effect by the United States Supreme Court in January 2019.
Biden’s order revokes Trump’s directives and directs the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement the new policy in all branches of military service – military, air force , the Navy, the Marines and the Coast Guard.
The ordinance prohibits involuntary separations, dismissals and re-enlistment refusals on the basis of or in connection with gender identity.
A 2016 U.S. Department of Defense study found that allowing transgender people to serve would have minimal effect on military readiness and health care costs, the White House said in a statement. announcing the new policy.
The study also concluded that open transgender service had no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign armies.
The implementation of the new directive will take time as the service branches roll out the policies put in place under the Trump administration. Biden’s order requires defense and homeland security secretaries to report on progress within 60 days.