President Biden Lifts Ban on Transgender Military Members – Essence
President Joe Biden has reversed the ban on transgender military service members previously enacted by the Trump Administration.
Biden signed the executive order on Monday, January 26 in the Oval Office. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, the new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
The policy reversal ensures that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to do so. Biden said that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity. The White House said the executive order “ensures that America can build a more inclusive and more effective force, making America stronger at home and around the world.”
David J. Johns is Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization that centers LGBTQ communities of color. “Prejudice and discrimination against the various identities that make a person who they are should never be justified or legalized by our government,” he told ESSENCE.
“For Black transgender people, much like the rest of the Black community, the military is often a gateway to an affordable or free education, and often provides a pathway out of poverty,” Johns added. “Transgender people deserve to be respected and protected in every avenue of their lives, including their jobs. We applaud this decision to allow transgender people to live openly and freely as themselves, especially while working for [the military], one of the largest employers in the United States.”