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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson January 25, 2021

Biden signs executive order banning discrimination against transgender service members

On the sixth day of his presidency, President Joe Biden kept a campaign promise by signing an executive order overturning a ban on military service by transgender individuals.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden said he would "direct the U.S. Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from discrimination."

The order Biden signed on Jan. 25 overturned orders from his predecessor, President Donald Trump, from 2017 and 2018 that had barred transgendered individuals from serving in the military. Biden signed the order after meeting with his recently confirmed defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, who said during his confirmation hearing that "if you're fit and you're qualified to serve, and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve."

In addition to overturning Trump's orders, Biden directed top officials to "to take all necessary steps to ensure that all directives, orders, regulations, and policies of their respective departments are consistent with this order."

The order also immediately bars involuntary separations and discharges as well as denials of either reenlistment or continuation of service based on gender identity. It requires the secretaries of defense and homeland security to report back to the president in 60 days on their progress implementing the order.

A leading LGBTQ advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, applauded Biden's order.

"For years, transgender patriots were forced to continue to hide their identity while serving in our military. But today, thanks to President Joe Biden, Secretary Lloyd Austin, and pro-equality voters across America, they may live and serve openly as themselves," the group's president, Alphonso David, said in a statement.

We rate this a Promise Kept.

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