President Joe Biden (feels so good to say, doesn’t it?) has officially repealed Donald Trump’s archaic law that banned transgender people from enlisting and serving in the military.
A statement sent to reporters on Monday (25 January) from the White House reads: “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.
“This question of how to enable all qualified Americans to serve in the military is easily answered by recognizing our core values. America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception.”
The statement continues: “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.”
President Biden signed an executive order to repeal the ban at a ceremony with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said he believes that “if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.”
Austin went on to say: “And you can expect that I will support that throughout.”
Brock Stone, a veteran and trans man who launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration for the ban, said: “I honestly feel incredibly light today. I hadn’t realized how much this fight had weighed me down, how much it had made me resentful, both at home and at work.
“It is certainly a relief knowing that the very highest levels of my leadership are no longer out to get me. I’m grateful that the ‘coast is clear’ so to speak to allow me and other trans folx breathing room to keep carving more progress for better equality.”
The Trump administration announced the ban in 2017, citing “tremendous medical costs” and “disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” The announcement was immediately met with condemnation.
President Biden’s repeal of the ban is one of many policies in his plan to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens.
In his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order enforcing the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on protections for LGBTQ+ workers. The landmark 6-3 ruling back in June ruled that federal civil rights laws protects LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said: “Even before taking office, President Biden demonstrated that he values transgender Americans and recognizes that there is no place for discrimination in the federal government.
“The new president has made clear his agenda for ensuring that transgender Americans are treated fairly and with respect. Today’s action is one step forward and ensures that anyone who is willing to serve and is able to serve has that opportunity.”
Biden has appointed various LGBTQ+ officials for his administration, including former presidential candidate Pete Buttegieg, who has been picked as the US Secretary of Transportation. The move means Buttigieg will become America’s first ever openly gay Cabinet secretary.
Rachel Levine will also make history as Senate’s first ever openly transgender official in the US. The current Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been nominated by Biden as his Assistant Secretary for Health.
It’s a change to be writing such positive news about an American president.