U.S. President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order overturning the Trump administration’s ban on the service of transgender individuals in the military.
“America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive,” states a White House news release. “The military is no exception.”
The order affects the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for actions with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). In the order, Biden directed the defense secretary and the secretary of homeland security to ensure that all directives, orders, regulations and policies of their respective departments are consistent with the new order.
“This means no one will be separated or discharged, or denied reenlistment, solely on the basis of gender identity,” the White House news release said. “Prospective recruits may serve in their self-identified gender when they have met the appropriate standards for accession into the military services.”
The policy also ensures all medically-necessary transition related care authorized by law is available to all service members. It also immediately prohibits “involuntary separations, discharges and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity.
The executive order also calls for an immediate start to the identification and examination of the records of service members who have been involuntarily separated, discharged or denied reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity. It provides for the correction of military records.
The new Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said he fully supports President Biden’s decision.
In a written statement he said that all transgender individuals “who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination.”
The secretary insisted the change is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing. In this, he echoed the White House statement that “the all-volunteer force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security.”
The secretary told the military departments to immediately ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender.