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Biden orders Pentagon to reverse Trump-era policies that banned transgender people from US military

Executive order - Executive Branch
President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders on health care, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Wednesday, the Biden administration ordered the Pentagon to begin work on actively reversing the Trump-era policies that effectively banned transgender people from serving in the US military.

Making good on his promise to reverse the transgender military ban put into place by the Trump administration in 2019, President Biden signed an executive order repealing the policy in his first week in office, including instructions for the Pentagon to review the policy, begin reversing it, and reporting back in 60 days. The order, effective immediately, reversed the Trump-era policy and allowed the military to begin providing “access to the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met,” the Defense Department said in a statement on Wednesday, and “provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender.”

The Pentagon’s announcement coincided with International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual day of recognition for the transgender community that started in 2009. On Wednesday, Biden made the first official US presidential proclamation recognizing the day and announced his administration’s ongoing work to bring equality to the trans community. The specific provisions of the Pentagon’s policy reversal include (but are not limited to): The prohibition of any discrimination in the military based on gender identity; Review and reexamination of the records of any service members who were denied reenlistment or discharged from the military under the previous policy; Developing procedures within the military to change a service member’s gender marker; A program that provides assistance to service members who are transitioning while serving; Access to medical treatment for service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

The policy changes are set to take effect in 30 days. The Department of Defense instructions include the following language: “These policies are based on the conclusion that open service by transgender persons who are subject to the same high standards and procedures as other Service members with regard to medical fitness for duty, physical fitness, uniform and grooming standards, deployability, and retention is consistent with military service and readiness.”

Trans rights advocates and activists across the country expressed their appreciation on social media. The Human Rights Campaign, which has been working alongside the Biden administration on its equality agenda, put out a statement on Wednesday regarding the Pentagon policy reversal, saying, “For years, transgender patriots were forced to continue to hide their identity while serving in our military. But today, thanks to President Joe Biden, Secretary Lloyd Austin, and pro-equality voters across America, they may live and serve openly as themselves.”

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ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: KTLA

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