Coinciding with the Transgender Day of Visibility, the Pentagon has announced its reversal of Trump-era policies which effectively banned transgender Americans from serving in the military.
The Associated Press reports the new department regulations “allow transgender people who meet military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified gender, and they will be able to get medically necessary transition-related care authorized by law.”
The new rules also ban discrimination based on gender identity.
A review of service members who were discharged or denied reenlistment because of gender identity issues under the previous policy has also been ordered.
And thus ends an ugly chapter in the history of the U.S. begun by Donald Trump in 2017.
The misguided policy from Trump was a knee-jerk reaction to a request from Republican House members who threatened to vote against funding for his border wall if he didn’t prohibit gender affirmation operations for transgender military service members.
Instead of just addressing the healthcare request, Trump blindsided military leaders by announcing via Twitter he had banned all service by trans Americans.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, applauded today’s announcement.
“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,” said Ellis 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. This will make our military more ready, more cohesive, and more equal.”
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. This will make our military more ready, more cohesive, and more equal.
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) March 31, 2021
SPART*A, the nation’s leading transgender military service organization, also cheered the news.
“We applaud this step to ensure the Department of Defense provides inclusive policy to attract and retain the best and brightest our nation has to offer,” said Bree Fram, a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and Vice President of SPART*A.
Today SPART*A, the nation’s leading transgender military service organization, joins the thousands of transgender service members across the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in celebrating the release of new guidance.https://t.co/wFS559Cn8N
— SPΛRTA – A Transgender Military Organization (@sparta_pride) March 31, 2021
And from the Human Rights Campaign’s president, Alphonso David: “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.”
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 31, 2021
Watch Defense Department spokesman John Kirby announce the new policies below.
DOD spokesperson John Kirby announces an update of Pentagon policy on transgender service: "The revised policies…restore the department's original 2016 policies regarding transgender service—specifically they prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity." pic.twitter.com/b8w6RzUPKg
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 31, 2021