Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is celebrating the ninth anniversary of repealing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" by supporting transgender troops.
As NewNowNext reported in 2019, the U.S. military formally stopped accepting recruits who are experiencing gender dysphoria, taking hormones or seeking to transition, and those “who can’t or won’t serve in their birth genders.”
The Obama administration lifted the restriction on trans people serving in the armed forces in 2016, but President Donald Trump took aim at that policy with a series of now-infamous tweets from 2017. The so-called "trans military ban" dumbfounded experts and surprised even Trump's own military leaders.
“The President’s revival of his bigoted, disgusting ban on transgender service members is a stunning attack on the patriots who keep us safe and on the most fundamental ideals of our nation,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the time. “The President’s years-long insistence on his cowardly ban makes clear that prejudice, not patriotism, guides his decisions.”
In a new piece for LGBTQ Nation, Biden promised to reverse the trans military ban if elected to the White House in November:
As president, I will direct the Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from discrimination. If I have the privilege of serving as the next commander in chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know I will have their back and honor their sacrifice—always, no matter who they are or who they love.
As the AP noted in 2019, an estimated 14,700 troops on active duty and in the reserves currently identify as transgender, although not all seek medical intervention. Since July 2016, more than 1,500 service members were diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Other former Democratic presidential candidates who vocally opposed the current administration’s discriminatory moves against trans service members include Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren, who also vowed to reverse the ban on her first day in office if she were elected.
Read Biden's full statement here.