Biden lifts ban on transgender people serving in military

President Biden is expected to make the announcement aside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after the latter's ceremonial swearing-in

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President Joe Biden has lifted the ban against transgender Americans from serving in the military. 

The ban was first announced by former President Donald Trump in July 2017 in a via a trio of tweets that, together, read: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” 

President Joe Biden spoke Friday on his administration’s response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also signed two executive orders. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Trump declaration came just a year after the administration of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, announced that transgender men and women could openly serve. 

Further, the “tremendous medical costs” alleged by the Trump was less than 10 percent of what the military spends annually on erectile dysfunction treatments for its service members. 

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LGBTQ activists have called the policy “cruel and irrational.” However, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect, with the four liberal justices voting against it. 

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The president made the announcement on Monday in the Oval Office with Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after the official ceremonial swearing-in of the first Black American to lead this nation’s Defense Department.

Flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (R), U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

At his recent confirmation hearing, Austin made it clear he supported the the ban’s lift. 

“I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban,” he said last Tuesday, responding to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “I truly believe, Senator, that as I said in my opening statement, that 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.”

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