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Monday, 25 January 2021

Biden 'will repeal 2017 ban on transgender people enlisting in the military as soon as Monday' - the latest effort by his administration to roll back many of Trump's policies

 President Joe Biden is poised to repeal his predecessor Donald Trump's ban on transgender people enlisting in the US military, a person familiar with the matter said.

The source, who spoke to Reuters anonymously because the action is not yet public, said Biden could lift the ban as soon as Monday. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan marks the latest effort by the Biden administration to roll back many of Trump's policies.

President Joe Biden is poised to repeal his predecessor Donald Trump's ban on transgender people enlisting in the US military, a person familiar with the matter said

President Joe Biden is poised to repeal his predecessor Donald Trump's ban on transgender people enlisting in the US military, a person familiar with the matter said

The source, who spoke to Reuters anonymously because the action is not yet public, said Biden could lift the ban as soon as Monday. Demonstrators gather to protest in July 2017

The source, who spoke to Reuters anonymously because the action is not yet public, said Biden could lift the ban as soon as Monday. Demonstrators gather to protest in July 2017 

Trump 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 to transition genders.

According to US Department of Defense data, there are about 1.3 million active personnel serving in the US military, but no official figures on the number of trans members are available.

While transgender military personnel under Trump's policy were allowed to keep serving, new recruits were kept out.

Biden's plan to repeal the ban is supported by newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.


'If you're fit and you're qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout,' Austin said at his confirmation hearing.

The move comes as Biden tries to tackle discrimination against LGBT+ people. 

Biden has also tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the US Senate. 

A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Levine was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. 

President Trump stands by banning transgender people from military
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Trump 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 to transition genders. Demonstrators are seen protesting the ban in 2017

Trump 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 to transition genders. Demonstrators are seen protesting the ban in 2017 

She won past confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

'Dr Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,' Biden said in a statement.

'She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration's health efforts.' 

Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and president & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement: 'Her nomination is groundbreaking and shows the Biden administration will choose the most qualified individuals to lead our nation regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

'Dr Levine is making history and will transform Americans’ perceptions of trans people when she takes office and begins to work on their behalf.'

It was also revealed last week that people can now select gender-neutral pronouns when contacting the US government.

People who identify as non-binary - neither male nor female - can now select the gender-neutral title 'Mx' on the White House website's contact page, which also added a drop-down list of personal pronouns, including 'they/them'.

The website update marks a departure from Trump's administration, which issued orders emphasizing the importance of 'biological sex' rather than gender identity.

On Wednesday, Biden also signed an executive order that said federal agencies must not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity when implementing existing federal laws that bar discrimination on the basis of sex.

That will apply in areas including 'education, housing, credit and healthcare', Graciela Gonzales, a spokeswoman for LGBT+ legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, said by email.

'Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,' Biden's order said.

'Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.'

Biden published a lengthy list of LGBT+ pledges during the presidential campaign and said he wanted to sign the Equality Act, which would explicitly outlaw discrimination against LGBT+ people - during his first 100 days in office.

Biden also revoked a Trump order that had banned federal diversity training on racist, sexist and homophobic bias, as part of his 'order on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government'. 

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