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Biden Is Getting Rid of Trump's Trans Military Ban

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Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP (Getty Images)

Biden is expected to overturn Trump’s ban on transgender troops as early as Monday, in one of several executive orders he has poised for his first week in office.

Though the ban was allowed to go into effect in January 2019, following a Supreme Court ruling, the Pentagon didn’t begin formally implementing the military ban until that April, barring anyone who had transitioned or was currently taking hormones from enlisting. The rule also stipulated that any trans troops already serving at that time would have to serve under their sex assigned at birth, and would not be allowed to take hormones or seek out gender-affirming surgery.

Incredibly, the Department of Defense maintained that nothing about this policy constituted a “ban”: “Under the new policy, if they transitioned prior, they would not be eligible for accession into the military,” a Defense official told the press at the time. “I really don’t get any logic to how this gets you to this is a ban on transgender service.” (No need to try to wrap one’s head around that logic any longer.)

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The ACLU led the legal battle against the Trump-era ban with a suit on behalf of five trans service-members, arguing that the rule violated their constitutional rights and discriminated against them. The case did not succeed in court. But according to the Associated Press, its arguments will soon be vindicated by Biden’s executive action, which is backed by his newly-minted Defense secretary, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin.

“I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban,” Austin said during his confirmation hearing last week. “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.”

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Abolish the trans military ban? Check. (Upset the TERFS again? Also check, probably.) Now do the military industrial complex.