The Pentagon on Wednesday issued new rules, sweeping away Trump administration policies that largely barred transgender people from serving in the military, following through on an executive order President Biden signed after taking office, The Hill reports.
The new Defense Department policies, released on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, allow transgender people who meet military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified gender. The new regulations will also give access to medical transition-related care, and prevent discrimination against transgender military members, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
“Secretary of Defense [Lloyd Austin] strongly believes that the all-volunteer force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the high standards for military service, and an inclusive force that strengthens our national security posture,” Kirby said.
The changes, effective in 30 days, come after a two-month Pentagon review following Biden’s order, which “sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve.”
Biden’s executive order overturned the Trump policy and immediately prohibited any service member from being forced out of the military on the basis of gender identity. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin then gave the Pentagon two months to finalize the more detailed regulations that the military services will follow.
Biden’s executive order overturned President Trump’s policy banning transgender military service and immediately prohibited the military from forcing out any service member on the basis of gender identity.
Prior to Trump’s ban, transgender troops were covered by a 2016 Obama administration policy that allowed them to serve openly, according to Fox News.
The new policies announced Wednesday are similar to those developed under Obama in 2016, according to the Pentagon.
Since July 2016, more than 1,500 service members were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; as of Feb. 1, 2019, there were 1,071 currently serving. As many as 8,000 service members may self-identify as transgender, according to the Pentagon.