The Pentagon has officially revised its policies for transgender troops, ending the Trump-era policy restricting transgender persons from serving in the military.
The announcement comes two months after President Biden signed executive orders preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity within government branch departments. The new rules restore the Department of Defense (DOD) policies that were in place prior to Trump’s ban; they prohibit the discrimination of persons based on gender identity, protect the privacy of all service members, and allow access to gender-affirming medical treatment for trans service members.
In a statement delivered to reports by DOD press secretary John Kirby, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said that “The United States armed forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens.”
NBC also reports that Secretary Austin has ordered a review of records of troops who were discharged or denied the opportunity to re-enlist under Trump’s ban; currently, the number of discharged troops remains unknown. Officials in 2019 placed the total number of transgender troops serving at 14,700, according to NBC.
In the Pentagon’s statement, military accession policy director Stephanie Miller said that of the known transgender troops currently serving, 2,200 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria for which the military will provide access to medical care. She also said that transgender applicants would need to meet the general medical standards for military personnel “to include those standards that may be associated specifically with cross-sex hormone therapy, a previous diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or any form of surgical intervention.”
Under the executive order issued in January, President Biden ordered a halt to the ban and directed Pentagon personnel to implement the directive within 60 days. The new policies will be effective within 30 days.