Breaking: President Biden Overturns Military Ban on Transgender Service Members

January 25, 2021 • 11:45 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today President Biden issued an executive order overturning the ban on transgender Americans serving in the U.S. military.

Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans, the bipartisan campaign to secure LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections nationwide, issued the following statement:

“President Biden’s executive order restoring the ability of worthy and qualified transgender Americans to serve in our military shows a commitment to making America as strong and safe as possible. The ban was an example of the discrimination transgender Americans face every day, and it led to very real security and economic costs. Transgender troops are patriots who have earned the support of every major military branch chief and a majority of the American public. But even when brave transgender soldiers return home to their loved ones, they still lack federal protections from discrimination in other areas of life including housing, public places such as restaurants and stores, and federally-funded services. It’s time for Congress to work with President Biden to end discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans by updating federal law to expressly include comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections so everyone in our community is treated with dignity and respect.”

President Trump hastily announced the discriminatory ban via tweet in the summer of 2017 and the White House moved forward in March 2019 with guidelines by the Department of Defense for implementation. The Department of Defense is now expected to take steps towards reversal.

The ban was condemned by lawmakers across the political spectrum, including Republican Senators like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); and Republican Representatives like Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Polling in 2019 showed that Republican support for transgender Americans serving openly in the military had grown by ten points in the two years following Trump’s announcement of the ban.

John Fluharty, a member of Freedom for All Americans’ Conservatives Against Discrimination Leadership Council and former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Delaware, withdrew himself from consideration for a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security after President Trump announced the ban.

“As a proud conservative, I firmly believe that we should be encouraging inclusion and opposing discrimination of any kind. I am relieved that the ban on brave transgender service members who were willing to put their lives on the line for our country will now be a sorry footnote in history,” Fluharty said.

On his first day in office, President Biden directed all federal agencies to implement the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. The ruling found that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination under existing federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination. Biden’s action means the landmark ruling will now extend to every federal agency’s application and enforcement of all federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination, including employment, housing, credit, education, and more.

“President Biden’s order allowing qualified transgender Americans to serve openly makes the United States stronger and safer,” said Conservatives Against Discrimination Co-Chair and former Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “The ban was a vivid illustration of the discrimination that many transgender Americans experience all too often and sparked swift bipartisan opposition. And despite this step forward, LGBTQ service members, veterans, and everyday LGBTQ individuals remain vulnerable to discrimination in other areas of life because of insufficient federal nondiscrimination protections. Even with the President’s order implementing the Bostock ruling, critical gaps remain. With support from 8 in 10 Americans – including 68% of Republicans – it’s time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to pass federal legislation providing common-sense protections for all LGBTQ Americans.”

President Biden has also pledged to make enactment of the Equality Act, which would ensure LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections nationwide in virtually all areas of life, a top legislative priority in the 117th Congress.

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Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.


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