The Pentagon on Wednesday issued new guidelines to protect transgender members of the United States military, effectively reversing former president Donald Trump’s rules that had banned transgender persons from serving in the military

The Department of Defense said that the new policy that comes into effect on April 30, 2021, restores the original 2016 Obama-era policies with regard to transgender service members. 

“The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect,” the DOD said in a statement

Transgender Day Of Visibility Announcement

The announcement, that came on a day marked as Transgender Day of Visibility, was welcomed by trans persons and rights organisations. 

Nicolas Talbott whose dreams of enlisting had been thwarted by the ban had challenged the transgender military ban in court. Talbott said in a statement that it was a “relief” to see Pentagon announce the new guidelines that will cancel Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military members.

“I look forward to seeing the military’s core values of fairness and respect reflected in a clear policy that welcomes all people who are qualified and willing to serve and I’m more confident than ever that when I apply to enlist, I will be judged on my skills and my accomplishments, instead of my transgender status, which has nothing to do with my ability to serve,” said Talbott. 

“President Joe Biden and the Pentagon have moved swiftly and certainly to undo the discriminatory and unjust transgender military ban put in place by the former President,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. 

“This is a great day for America’s service members, who deserve a commander-in-chief who understands the service and sacrifice that come with putting on the uniform of the United States military. This will make our military more ready, more cohesive, and more equal.”

In another significant decision Biden, became the first US President to sign a proclamation on Wednesday declaring March 31, as Transgender Day of Visibility. On his very first day in office, President Biden had signed an executive order to protect LGBTQI+ persons from discrimination and has pushed for the passing of the Equality Act.

“To more fully protect the civil rights of transgender Americans, we must pass the Equality Act and provide long overdue Federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Equality Act will deliver legal protections for LGBTQ+ Americans in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems.  It will serve as a lasting legacy to the bravery and fortitude of the LGBTQ+ movement,” President Biden said.

 

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