By David T. Valentin
Just yesterday, in a fitting end to Transgender Day of Visibility, the pentagon announced its new policies to reverse the Trump Administrations ban on transgender troops.
“What I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform,” President Biden said, just before signing the document to make the reversal official.
“The Secretary of Defense strongly believes that the all-volunteer force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the high standards for military service,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reports.
This is a sharp contrast to President Trump’s tweets back in 2017 which had deemed transgender rights as more of a financial burden and distraction, as he described the U.S. military must be “focused on decisive and overwhelming victory that cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Biden’s reversal of Trump’s ban on Transgender troops serving in the military restores protections of transgender troops that were created by former President Barack Obama.
The ban was lifted on June 30th, 2016 with the approval of President Obama and then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
But only three years later under President Trump’s Administration, President Obama’s protections of transgender troops were abolished, once again preventing transgenders from joining the U.S. military. President Trump had made his intentions clear back in July 2017 when he, after consulting with his “generals and military experts,” tweeted that “…Transgender individuals [cannot] serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The tweet took the Pentagon, and the world, by surprise.
When, in 2019, President Trump was asked about his campaign promises back in 2016 to protect the LGBTQ+ community and all its members, Trump dodged the question. “You Know what I’m doing? I’m protecting everybody. I want to protect our country.”
Under the reinstated protections first created by President Obama, transgender individuals will now be free to volunteer for the U.S. Military while also being provided the necessary medical care that they need.