US President Joe Biden overturned another controversial decision by his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, on Monday (25) and allowed transgender people to return to service in the US military.
“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a barrier to military service and that America’s strength lies in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement.
“Enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country is better for the military and better for the country, because an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it is the right thing to do and it is in our national interest. “
Repealing Trump’s decision was Biden’s campaign promise. While they have reason to celebrate the Democrat’s action, LGBT rights activists see problematic the president’s prerogative to decide whether trans people can serve in the armed forces or not.
Former President Barack Obama, for whom Biden was a Member of Parliament, in 2016 authorized transgender people to openly join the United States military and receive the medical care necessary for the transition. The following year, however, Trump banned the recruitment of transgender people.
Announcing the ban in 2017 in a Twitter post, the Republican asserted that the military must focus on “a decisive and overwhelming victory” and cannot be “weighed down by the huge medical bills and disruption” that, he said, transgender people involve in the armed forces.
In November, a report from the Palm Center, a center for the study of LGBT rights, concluded that the ban on transgender people undermined the military readiness of the United States.
At his confirmation hearing in the Senate, retired General Lloyd Austin, chosen by Biden to be the new head of the US Department of Defense, also spoke out in favor of ending the ban.
There is no official data on the number of transgender people in the US military. In 2016, the Rand Corp research institute estimated that around 2,450 active members of the service were transgendered, which would represent about 0.19% of the 1.3 million Pentagon employees.