President Biden on Monday signed an executive order overturning the Trump administration policy that limited transgender service in the military, saying in a statement that the U.S. is “safer” when everyone can serve.
At issue was a Trump administration policy that required military personnel to serve in their biological sex, not their preferred gender. The Trump policy allowed current transgender personnel who didn’t meet the new standards at the time of its implementation to remain in the military.
Persons who had sex-reassignment surgery or were diagnosed with gender dysphoria were ineligible for the military under the Trump policy.
The Biden executive order reverses Trump and institutes the Obama-era policy, which allows individuals to serve openly under their gender identity. A biological man who identifies as a woman, for example, can serve alongside women under the new Biden policy.
“Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military,” Biden said in a tweet. “It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.”
Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 25, 2021
The Biden order states: “It is my conviction as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that gender identity should not be a bar to military service.”
A White House fact sheet on the new policy said “transgender servicemembers should know that they are accepted throughout the U.S. military.”
The White House quoted a 2016 study that found that “enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness.”
That study, conducted by the non-profit Rand Corporation, found that there are an “estimated 1,320–6,630 transgender service members” but “not all will seek gender-transition-related treatment.”
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, criticized the new policy.
“Every cent spent on this politically correct exercise is money that could be used to prepare our troops for war,” Boykin said. “Every second wasted in ‘transgender sensitivity training’ is time that could be spent on the rifle range. I'm appalled that our commander-in-chief is more focused on appeasing special interest groups than on military readiness.”
Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran and the president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement that Biden is “diverting precious dollars from mission-critical training to something as controversial as gender reassignment surgery” for military personnel. Biden, Perkins said, is advancing the “far Left's social agenda.”
“Political correctness doesn't win wars, but the president is indulging dangerous and unproven theories that have the potential to undermine national security,” Perkins said.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.