Transgender Troops Can Now Freely Serve And Enlist In US Army
Transgender and gender non-conforming people can now enlist and serve in the US Army, the Pentagon has announced.
The revision will restore the Obama-era policies which lifted the ban on transgender troops.
Under Biden’s orders, transgender people will also be eligible to receive gender-affirming medical care, officials said on International Transgender Day of Visibility, yesterday, March 31.
‘There is no place for violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression or sex characteristics,’ Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a news briefing.
In January, President Joe Biden signed two executive orders reversing Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Trump announced the divisive ban in a series of tweets in 2017, writing that transgender people would be barred from serving in the military ‘in any capacity’.
Signed days after taking office, Biden’s orders said ‘America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception’.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) said the revised policies ‘prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender’.
They also ‘provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition and recognition in one’s self-identify gender, and they seek to protect the privacy of all service members and to treat them with dignity and respect at all times,’ Kirby said.
The reversal of the ban will come into effect in 30 days to give military services time to update their policies and provide guidance to commanders, service members and medical professionals.
Stephanie Miller, the DoD’s military accession policy director, said there are currently around 2,200 transgender people in the military ranks who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and need medical care.
Miller said the department will assess each case and provide the necessary medical care to each individual.
The amended policies have been fully backed by Lloyd Austin, the new US Secretary of Defense who took up the position earlier this year.
Kirby said Austin believes the US military thrives when it is composed of ‘diverse Americans who can meet the high standards for military service’.
Quoting Austin, Kirby said: ‘We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and devotion to serve in uniform. This is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do.’
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