The Department of Defense on Wednesday
announced formal policy updates allowing transgender troops to serve
President Joe Biden in January signed
an executive order reversing a ban on open transgender military
service, fulfilling a campaign promise to reverse the ban implemented
by former President Donald Trump.
Wednesday's announcement coincided with
the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
first: Biden issues Transgender Day of Visibility proclamation.)
The new regulations take effect on
April 30. They provide “access to the military in one's
self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met”
and “a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender
transition, and recognition in one's self-identified gender,” the
Defense Department said in a press release.
LGBT rights advocates cheered the news.
“Today, on International Transgender
Day of Visibility, not only are thousands of active duty and future
transgender military service members now able to serve openly as
themselves for the first time in years, but tens of thousands more
transgender veterans will be seen and recognized for who they are,”
said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
“President Biden has kept another promise to the LGBTQ community,
ending the discriminatory and arbitrary prohibition on transgender
military service started by the Trump administration. The end of this
ban is a win for equality, and it will only serve to strengthen the
military as a whole. We are thrilled to see the Biden administration
continue their commitment to equality for all.”
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate
Ellis said that transgender inclusion would make the United States
military “more ready, more cohesive, and more equal.”
"President Biden and the Pentagon
have moved swiftly and certainly to undo the discriminatory and
unjust transgender military ban put in place by the former
President," Ellis said in a statement. "This is a great day
for America's service members, who deserve a commander-in-chief who
understands the service and sacrifice that come with putting on the
uniform of the United States military."
In 2016, the Obama administration
lifted restrictions on transgender people serving openly in the armed
forces. Those policies were never fully enacted. The following year,
Trump reinstated the ban. Biden's order largely returns to policies
announced in 2016.