Biden executive order reverses Trump, reopens military to transgender soldiers
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – President Joe Biden formally revoked the Trump administration’s ban on transgender military service Monday, the latest in a slate of executive orders aimed at undoing former President Donald Trump’s legacy and satisfying a litany of left-wing interest groups.
Finalized in 2018 in consultation with former defense secretary James Mattis and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the Trump policy disqualified from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”
Already serving members (estimated at the time to total anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630) were allowed to stay but would be treated as members of their biological sex rather than their “gender identity,” and held to the dress and grooming standards of the former. Current medical treatments would continue for current members already diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but new transition procedures would not be offered.
The new Biden executive order declares (but does not explain how) the military “thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security.”
The order cites an Obama-era study as proof that “enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs” and “no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.” It also quotes former defense officials and surgeons general who disagreed with the later Mattis-Nielsen review that informed the Trump policy, but does not identify any alleged flaws with that review.
Nevertheless, the order calls for “establishing a process by which transgender service members may transition gender while serving,” and immediately prohibits “involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to their gender identity.”
It does not specifically address whether reassignment surgeries will once more be offered to gender-confused soldiers at taxpayer expense, but conservative critics expect that announcement to soon follow, in light of the Biden administration’s overall support for the transgeender lobby, from “preferred pronouns” to forcing biological males into girls’ sports.
“Every cent spent on this politically-correct exercise is money that could be used to prepare our troops for war,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, responded. “Every second wasted in ‘transgender sensitivity training’ is time that could be spent on the rifle range. I’m appalled that our commander-in-chief is more focused on appeasing special interest groups than on military readiness.”