At a Pentagon event to celebrate LGBT Pride Month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that he was proud every month to call LGBT members of the Armed Forces his “teammates.”

Austin, who was nominated for defense secretary by President Joe Biden, was confirmed to the post by the Senate with a nearly unanimous vote.

“I know that you're especially proud this month, and rightfully so,” Austin said. “I'm proud too. Proud every month and every day to call you my teammates, and to serve alongside you.”

Austin also referenced the 10th anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton that prohibited openly gay military service.

“Today we commemorate ten years since the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and we welcome a new generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardians, and marines openly and proudly serving their country. And today we can recognize and honor their contributions rather than questioning their ability to serve.”

“And today we reaffirm that transgender rights are human rights,” he added. “And that America is safer and better when every qualified citizen can serve with pride and dignity. Now that's real progress.”

The Biden administration in February reversed a Trump-era policy that prohibited open transgender service.

(Related: Defense spokesman: Transgender people can “walk in and join” military under Biden policy.)