President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 25 lifting the previous administration's restrictions on transgender individuals serving in the military.
"President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America's strength is found in its diversity," the White House said in a statement. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other trusted sources.
2016 Study Cited
In his executive order, Biden cited a study requested by the Department of Defense in 2016 that found that "enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs." The study also concluded that "open transgender service has had no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries." The new executive order will allow transgender service members who meet the required standards and procedures to serve openly and will enable service members to take steps to transition gender while serving.
Defense Secretary Supports Order
The new defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, attended the signing and said he supports the order. "I fully support the president's direction that all transgender individuals who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination," he said in a statement.
Former Policy Revoked
With some exceptions, the prior policy blocked individuals diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving in the military. The order allowed other individuals to serve only if they did so according to the sex they were assigned at birth. Former President Donald Trump announced the ban on Twitter in 2017, citing concerns related to "tremendous medical costs and disruption." The official policy was released in 2018, and the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to take effect in January 2019.