WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely prohibits transgender individuals from joining the military, with President Donald Trump in his first in office Removing the restriction given in a tweet during the year, a person briefed on the decision tells the Associated Press.
Biden was widely expected to overturn Trump policy in his early days in office. The White House is expected to announce the move by Monday, according to a person briefed about the decision spoken on condition of anonymity to discuss the order.
The move to reverse the policy has the support of Biden’s newly confirmed Secretary of Defense, retired Army General Lloyd Austin, who spoke of the need to reverse it during his Senate confirmation hearing last week.
“I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban,” Austin said. “If you are fit and you are qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, then you should be allowed to serve.”
The decision has come as a plan for Biden to focus on equity issues, which he believes continue to shadow almost all aspects of American life. Prior to his inauguration, Biden’s transition team aired a memorandum from Ron Clann, now head of the White House, asking Biden’s plan to use his first full week as president. “
The move to remove the transgender ban is the latest example of Biden using executive authority in his first days as president to end Trump’s legacy. His early works include an initiative to end the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, stop construction of the wall on the US-Mexico border, and advance racial equity.
Biden is also scheduled to hold a formal swearing-in ceremony Monday at the White House for Austin, who became the country’s first black Secretary of Defense.
It was unclear how soon the Pentagon could implement a new policy, and whether it would take some time for the details to work.
Until a few years ago service members could be discharged from the military for being transgender, but that changed during the Obama administration. In 2016, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that transgender people already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly. And the military set July 1, 2017, as the date when transgender individuals would be allowed to be recruited.
After Trump took office, however, his administration delayed the nomination date and called for additional studies to determine whether allowing transgender individuals to serve would affect military readiness or effectiveness.
A few weeks later, Trump caught military leaders by surprise, tweeting that the government would not allow or allow transgender individuals to serve in the military “in any capacity”. “Our military must focus on decisive and massive victories and cannot be burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruptions that will attract transgender into the military,” he wrote.
It took almost two years, but after a long and complicated legal battle and additional reviews, in April 2019 the Department of Defense approved the new policy, which prohibits all prohibitions from transgender soldiers and military recruits from transitioning to the other sex. Most individuals are required to serve in their birth gender.
Under that policy, currently serving transgender soldiers and those who signed a recruiting contract before the effective date could continue with hormone discharge and gender transition plans if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria Was.
But after that date, anyone with gender dysphoria who was not taking hormones or had an infection in the other sex was allowed to be admitted. Soldiers already serving and diagnosed with gender dysphoria are required to serve in their birth gender and are prevented from taking hormones or undergoing infection surgery.
Under Trump policy, a service member may be discharged based on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria if he or she is “either unable or unwilling to comply with all applicable standards, including standards associated with his or her biological sex,” Or the other looking for an infection. Gender. “And it was said that soldiers should be formally consulted and given a chance to change before their decision was finalized.
As of 2019, an estimated 14,700 soldiers identify as transgender while on active duty and in reserve, but not all seek treatment. Since July 2016, more than 1,500 service members were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; As of February 1, 2019, there were currently 1,071 serving. According to the Pentagon, the department spent approximately $ 8 million on transgender care between 2016 and 2019. The Army’s annual health care budget topped $ 50 billion.
All four service chiefs told Congress in 2018 that they had not seen any discipline, morale or unit readiness problems with transgender soldiers serving openly in the military. But he also acknowledged that some commanders were spending a lot of time with transgender individuals who were working through medical needs and other transition issues.
Associated Press writer Amer Madhani contributed to this report.