The United States President, Joe Biden, has finally repealed his predecessor’s ban on transgender Americans willing to join the US military.
The move is yet another example of Biden using executive orders to overturn policies initiated by the Donald Trump-led administration.
President Joe Biden
Trump had announced the ban in July 2017, reversing a landmark decision by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which allowed transgender people to serve openly and receive medical care.
He, however, allowed transgender military personnel to keep serving while new recruits were kept out.
But in a statement on Monday, the White House said, “Transgender service members will no longer be subject to the possibility of discharge or separation on the basis of gender identity.
“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.”
It comes after new Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, a retired army general, spoke of the need to rescind the ban during his Senate confirmation hearing last week.
“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” he said.
BBC reported that there were 8,980 on active duty transgender troops in 2019, according to Department of Defence data analysed by the Palm Center, a non-profit group.
Biden repeatedly said he planned to overturn the ban.
Prior to the inauguration, a memo from Ron Klain, now the White House Chief of Staff, said Mr Biden planned to use his first full week as president “to advance equity and support communities of colour and other underserved communities”.
Biden has already signed orders halting construction of the Mexico border wall, overturning a ban on travellers from several predominantly Muslim countries, and launching an initiative to improve racial equity.
Transgender rights were addressed early by the Biden campaign. He is the first president to pledge his support to the community in his victory speech.
SaharaReporters, New York