Biden reverses ban on transgender troops
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Jan. 25 issued an executive order that allows transgender men and women to serve in the military again.
The executive order reverses an order from President Donald J. Trump, who in 2017 announced that transgender troops would be banned from military service. The ban on transgender troops was met with criticism from national medical groups, including the ACP and HIV Medicine Association.
Trump cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail” as his rationale. However, Biden’s executive order states a 2016 study reached a different conclusion.
“There is substantial evidence that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces,” the new executive order states. “A meticulous, comprehensive study requested by the Department of Defense found that enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and health care costs.”
The authors of the 2016 study also concluded that open transgender service did not have a significant impact on “operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.”
Biden said in the executive order that his decision to reverse the ban is also supported by a statement from a group of former surgeon generals, who in 2018 said that “transgender troops are as medically fit as their nontransgender peers and that there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude them from military service or to limit their access to medically necessary care.”
The AMA applauded Biden’s executive order.
“The AMA welcomes the president’s decision to reverse the policy that largely barred transgender people from serving in the military because there is no medically valid reason to exclude them,” Susan R. Bailey, MD, AMA president, said in a statement. “Transgender people have served our country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so. Ending this discriminatory policy is a win for all patriotic Americans who want to serve their country.”
AMA. AMA salutes Biden for ending ban on transgender Americans in military. https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/ama-statements/ama-salutes-biden-ending-ban-transgender-americans-military. Accessed January 25, 2021.