Biden pledged to make Transgender military service a “day one” priority

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Military Troops photo courtesy of Palm Center
Military Troops photo courtesy of Palm Center

Pentagon will immediately end trans ban

President-elect Joe Biden promised he would move to immediately end the ban on transgender military service on the first day of his presidency. It is a pledge that does not require the support of Congress or the development of any new policy provisions.

“On day one of my presidency,” Biden wrote earlier this year in a series of answers to the Dallas Voice, “I will direct the Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly and free from discrimination.” Biden said ending the ban, which President Donald Trump reinstated in 2019, was “not just the right thing to do, but it’s in our national interest.”

In July, the Palm Center released a memo explaining that restoring a fully inclusive policy would be straightforward. Palm center said in a news release it could be accomplished in just weeks because the policy allowing for transgender service has remained in place for those troops grandfathered under the prior policy of inclusion. “A return to inclusive policy could take place without delay,” reads the memo, “and certainly within 30 days, because current military regulations have preserved the full catalog of inclusive policy measures developed under the Obama administration.”

Palm’s memo was endorsed by nine major military, LGBTQ, and progressive groups who stated that they “look forward to a swift return to fully inclusive service.”

The groups include the Center for American Progress; GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; Modern Military Association of America; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A); and Transgender American Veterans Association.

“We are confident that President-elect Biden will immediately reverse the ban on transgender military service upon taking office,” said Palm Center’s director, Aaron Belkin. “Few actions are as straightforward and as consistent with the president-elect’s values as ending this unnecessary ban that punishes our troops and harms our national security.”