President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Monday lifting the ban on transgender people in the military, multiple sources say.
Several people familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News that the order will be issued Monday. After Biden was sworn in Wednesday, the order was expected to come within a few days.
Donald Trump announced the ban via Twitter in July 2017, claiming that allowing trans people to serve openly interfered with military readiness and that their health care was too costly for the government to support. Numerous studies have contradicted such claims. Trump also asserted that military leaders had suggested the ban, but most of them said they were blindsided by his announcement.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the ban, which took effect in 2019. There has not been a mass discharge of the thousands of trans people who were already serving, as most of them are considered “grandfathered” in, but new enlistments of trans people have been blocked.
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter had lifted an earlier ban in 2016. Unlike the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on service by lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, the trans ban could be lifted by executive action, as it was a matter of military policy and not a law passed by Congress.
Biden has long expressed opposition to Trump’s ban and promised to lift it when he became president. Newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also said he supports lifting the ban and is expected to be present Monday when Biden makes the announcement.
“I support the president’s plan to overturn the ban,” Austin, now the first Black secretary of Defense, told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearling last week. “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve, and you can expect that I will support that throughout.”