Pentagon Officially Reverses Trump's Transgender Ban
'We recognize the great strides our Nation has made raising awareness'
The Pentagon has reversed President Donald Trump's order that banned transgender people from serving in the military, now ordering new protections.
The Pentagon made the announcement on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The statement was read from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
"On this International Transgender Day of Visibility, we recognize the great strides our Nation has made raising awareness of the challenges faced by the transgender community."
"I am pleased to announce we have updated departmental policy governing the open service of transgender individuals in the military."
"This updated policy reinforces our previous decision to allow for the recruitment, retention, and care of all qualified transgender individuals," Austin continued.
"The United States military is the greatest fighting force on the planet because we are composed of an all-volunteer team willing to step up and defend the rights and freedoms of all Americans," Austin concluded.
"We will remain the best and most capable team because we avail ourselves of the best possible talent that America has to offer, regardless of gender identity."
In 2017, Trump ordered a ban on most transgender people in the military.
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump said at the time.
"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
In celebration of Day of Visibility, Democrat Joe Biden flew transgender flags at the White House.
Biden said in a statement:
“Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world."
“This hard-fought progress is also shaping an increasingly accepting world in which peers at school, teammates and coaches on the playing field, colleagues at work, and allies in every corner of society are standing in support and solidarity with the transgender community,” the statement read.
Biden also noted the important gains for the trans community, including the Senate confirmation of Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.