Washington DC [US] January 26 (ANI/Sputnik): President Joe Biden signed an executive order that brought in a policy of including all qualified Americans to serve in the US military, effectively overturning a ban on transgender persons that was introduced by the former Trump administration, the White House said on Monday.
"President Biden signed today an Executive Order that sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve," the White House said. "President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America's strength is found in its diversity."
In a separate statement, the Defense Department said it was ready to immediately implement Biden's Executive Order.
"The Department will immediately take appropriate policy action to ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender" Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. "These changes will ensure no one will be separated or discharged, or denied reenlistment, solely on the basis of gender identity."
Austin said the revised policy will also ensure all medically-necessary transition-related care authorized by law is available to all service members and will re-examine all cases of transgender service members that may be in some form of adverse administrative proceedings.
"Over the next 60 days, I look forward to working with the senior civilian and military leaders of the Department as we expeditiously develop the appropriate policies and procedures to implement these changes," Austin said.
Transgender people were officially allowed to serve in the military by the Obama administration in 2016. However, in 2017 former President Donald Trump said transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in any capacity in the US military. Trump explained he introduced the ban because the military could not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs of transgender persons undergoing sex-change operations. (ANI/Sputnik)