Biden to reverse Trump era ban on transgender individuals serving in the military

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Graig Graziosi
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joe Biden will overturn a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military in one of his early acts as president.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told NBC News that Mr Biden would overturn the ban "in the coming weeks and days".

Mr Biden will overturn the ban using an executive order.

The president vowed to overturn the ban on the first day of his presidency, but his Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is still awaiting confirmation in Congress.

Mr Austin said he supported the move to overturn the ban.

“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout,” he said.

Mr Trump initiated the ban, which prevented transgender individuals from join in the military "in any capacity" in 2017. The ban reversed an Obama-era policy allowing transgender individuals to join the military.

Data from the Department of Defense estimates one per cent of the active duty US military members were transgender.

Mr Trump's ban grandfathered in transgender military members who were already enlisted.

Blake Dremmen, an active duty lieutenant commander in the US Navy, said he was looking forward to the reversal of the policy.

“We are excited for the ban to be lifted and we never have to tell another service member that being their authentic selves is a barrier to serving their nation,” Mr Dremann told NBC News. “The resilience and success of trans service members has shown we are committed to the success of the Nation.”

Mr Biden also selected Rachel Levine as his assistant secretary of health.

Ms Levine will become the first openly transgender US federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic – no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability – and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Ms Levine previously served as the state of Pennsylvania's top health official.

Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, issued a statement praising the selection.

“President-elect Biden said throughout his campaign that his administration would represent America," she said. “Today, he made clear that transgender people are an important part of our country.”

Read More

Joe Biden walks hand in hand with family to White House

How Biden plans to reset US foreign policy

Biden rebukes Trump for falsehoods, pledges to be truthful

Biden picks transgender woman as assistant health secretary

Macron calls on Biden for greater US military involvement

Gen. Mark Milley key to military continuity as Biden takes office