US President Joe Biden has scrapped the controversial ban on openly trans people in the military.
The executive order signed yesterday restores the right of trans Americans to serve, overturning legislation passed by former President Donald Trump in 2019.
“It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride,” Biden tweeted after signing the order.
While no official figures exist, thousands of trans people are thought to currently be serving in the US military.
The former legislation froze recruitment of new members who were openly trans.
Then-President Trump said that a need existed to focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory” without the burden of the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of trans people.
The Supreme Court previously ruled that the trans ban could stand while it was challenged by multiple lawsuits in lower courts, according to ABC News.
While the Trump Administration was accused of systematically attacking LGBTIQ rights, political pundits have noted that Biden is positioned to easily undo many of the legislative harms it introduced.
The previous government last year removed anti-discrimination protection in healthcare for trans people that was granted by the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.
It also moved to allow federally funded organisations, including homeless shelters and aged care facilities, to turn away LGBTIQ people based on religious beliefs.
Biden vowed in his victory speech to be a leader “who seeks not to divide, but to unify”.
The speech acknowledged many minority communities, including gay and trans Americans.
The incoming president has promised to fight for the LGBTIQ community, from supporting young queer people to protecting trans women of colour from violence and ensuring fair treatment in the criminal justice system.
LGBTIQ advocates have praised Biden’s scrapping of the trans ban but also expressed concerns that any president can unilaterally make such decisions.
“We must make sure that future presidents do not backslide on our values of equality and inclusion, and I intend to add a provision to this year’s defence policy bill to secure a permanent policy of non-discrimination for our armed forces,” said congresswoman Jackie Speier, chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee.