The Pentagon announced Wednesday, March 31, that transgender military members will once again be allowed to serve in the U.S. Military openly without fear of discrimination. The initial executive order was signed by President Biden on January 25, which directed the Pentagon to reverse the previous administration’s ban on transgender individuals within 60 days.
Biden’s executive order included reinstatement of trans members previously discharged and the Department of Defense confirmed that service members will be allowed to transition while they are serving, as well, which will be overseen by the Defense Health Agency. The finalized announcement came from the Pentagon to coincide with International Transgender Day of Visibility (ITDV).
According to a story carried by CNN, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released the following statement, “I believe we should avail ourselves of the best possible talent in our population regardless of gender identity. We would be [making] ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and have the skills and the standards to serve in uniform.”
Many in the LBGTQ and Allied communities headed to social media to celebrate the announcement during ITDV. “Thank God we’re slowly undoing all of the evils Trump enacted,” Adeline Jones of Blue Lake, California, posted on Facebook. “President Joe Biden is a patriotic American who will heal our nation and lead us forward. Progress!”
The anti-trans, pro-Trump supporters were present, as well. Said a Twitter member who identified only as Clark: “Well, now we have to pay for their transgender medical bills through taxes. Our taxes are fucked at the rate the Biden Administration is going.”
According to Trump’s initial ban, transgender individuals were not welcome in the military because he purportedly believed the military should instead focus “on decisive and overwhelming victory and [should] not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [people] in the military would entail.”
By and large, American response to the announcement has been positive and supportive.
Said CEO and President of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis: “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.”
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