President Joe Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
“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 says in a fact sheet.
The president signed an executive order reversing the ban earlier this morning. The order fully repeals the ban, will prohibit the military from discharging or denying reenlistment to individuals because of their gender identity, and instructs the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to begin the process of allowing transgender individuals to serve openly.
“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” said new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is a retired military general.
Biden had long campaigned on reversing the ban, which has been heavily criticized since Trump announced it in 2017. The ban went into effect in April 2019. The Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to enforce the ban following a ruling in January 2019.