President Joe Biden has signed an executive order reversing the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, which was put in place by President Trump under a previous executive order.
On Monday, the White House stated that Biden’s order "sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve."
"President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service and that America’s strength is found in its diversity," the White House said.
Biden’s order "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity,” according to the White House. In addition, the order calls for the immediate “correction” of service records for troops affected by Trump’s previous EO.
Biden promised to reverse the Trump administration’s military policy “on day one” of his appointment as president. The White House stated on inauguration day last Wednesday that the policy was “imminent.”
Axios reports that the previous order affected openly transgendered recruits and discharged troops who did not live as their sex assigned at birth. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender American Veterans Association, an estimated 15,000 service members were affected by the policy.
"Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force," the White House stated. "Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest."
Trump’s executive order undid efforts by President Obama, who in June 2016 allowed openly transgendered people to serve in the military following a decades-long ban on the practice. Trump was able to reenact the ban in July 2017 after multiple legal battles, citing medical costs for transgendered troops and “disruption.”
The Supreme Court allowed the ban to proceed in a 5-4 vote in 2019, after Trump’s order was temporarily blocked by federal judges following a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
The ACLU stated that Biden’s order "is the first of many essential steps to not only rollback the many discriminatory policies from the Trump administration but go farther than any previous administration in fully recognizing transgender and non-binary people.”