During his Senate confirmation hearing
on Tuesday, General Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden's pick to
lead the Defense Department, said that he supports open transgender
It was the first time Austin has
publicly expressed his support.
Austin made his comments in response to
questioning from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat.
“I support the plan to overturn the
ban,” he said. “I truly believe that if you're fit and you're
qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be
allowed to serve.”
In 2016, the Obama administration
lifted restrictions on transgender people serving openly in the armed
In a series of tweets in July 2017,
President Donald Trump declared that the military would no longer
“accept or allow” transgender troops to serve “in any
capacity.” After several setbacks in lower courts, the
administration modified its policy to allow transgender troops to
serve provided they do so as the sex they were assigned at birth.
Troops who came out while the old policy was in place were
The Supreme Court allowed the
administration to begin implementation of the policy even as four
challenges to the ban are pending in federal courts.
During the 2020 presidential campaign,
Biden promised to reverse the ban.
“As president, I will direct the
Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve
openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from
discrimination,” Biden told LGBTQ Nation
on the ninth anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“If I have the privilege of serving as the next commander in chief,
I will ensure that our American heroes know I will have their back
and honor their sacrifice – always, no matter who they are or who