President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order reversing the ban on Transgender military service Monday, January 25, the Los Angeles Blade learned Sunday.
Reversing President Trump’s decision to ban Trans Americans from open military service was a campaign commitment to the LGBTQ community by the president early on.
“The Modern Military Association of America is delighted and relieved that both President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense, General Lloyd Austin, are committed to repealing the discriminatory transgender service ban. This action speaks volumes to the LGBTQ military and veteran community. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration to ensure that all who are capable and qualified are able to serve.” Jennifer Dane, Air Force Veteran & Executive Director, told the Blade in an emailed statement.
LGBTQ activists had pushed the Biden-Harris Transition Team immediately after the election for a ‘Day One’ commitment to reverse the ban. White House sources told the Blade Sunday afternoon that the president and his senior advisors had opted to wait to take action until the incoming Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin had been fully confirmed by the Senate.
Austin, a retired four-star Army general, had been confirmed by the Senate, in a near-unanimous 93-2 vote Friday, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history.
“SPART*A is incredibly excited for the opportunity being granted by the Biden administration. Thousands of troops currently serving in silence will now be able to reach their full potential in the military,” Lt. Colonel Bree Fram, USAF, Communications Director for SPART*A told the Blade in an emailed statement. “Countless others who have waited for a chance to serve their country will now be able to bring their talents to the military. We proudly look forward to serving alongside them.”
Austin, said for the first time publicly this past week, during his Senate confirmation hearing, that he supports efforts to overturn the transgender military ban.
Austin made the comments under questioning from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who has taken the lead on the issue in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I support the plan to overturn the ban,” Austin said. “I truly believe that if you’re a fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.”
The president is expected to announce his action during the formal ceremonial swearing-in of the newly-confirmed defense secretary Monday at the White House.
Secretary Austin is expected to order the Pentagon to return to the policy implemented in 2016 by former Obama administration Defense Secretary Ash Carter, that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in all five of the military service branches.
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.