President Joe Biden plans to repeal former president Trump’s partial ban on transgender troops in the military, both Reuters and CBS News reported, citing administration sources. Biden plans to reverse the ban by signing an executive order, possibly as soon as Monday.
Under the Obama administration, transgender members of the military could serve openly and also receive gender-affirming medical care. But under Trump, the Pentagon implemented a new policy prohibiting transgender individuals from enlisting in the military and restricted troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria after the ban was in place from accessing gender-affirming treatment. Trump announced the ban in July 2017 via tweet, and it was implemented in April 2019.
According to a senior Defense official who spoke with CBS News, Biden will sign an executive order to repeal the Trump-era policy in a ceremony with newly-confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
During his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Austin said, “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout.”
The Williams Institute at UCLA estimated in 2014 that there were as many as 15,500 transgender individuals serving in the armed forces, and a Pentagon study published this year found that two-thirds of troops support serving alongside transgender troops.