January 26, 2021

Key Takeaways from Biden Administration’s Executive Order Lifting the Military’s Transgender Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Palm Center today issued the following new statement from director Aaron Belkin along with the brief “explainer” below, one day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order lifting the transgender military ban:

“In lifting the transgender ban, President Biden followed the science, relying on research by the RAND Corporation, a gold-standard source of military policy information, as well as evidence amassed by experts in military health and medicine. A former military Surgeon General advised that not only would inclusive policy enhance readiness, but it could also be implemented quickly because the relevant regulations were never cancelled under the Trump administration. Biden’s new defense secretary echoed that judgment, pledging that the Pentagon would move forward ‘immediately’ and ‘expeditiously.’ According to the executive order, Biden intends to check back in 60 days, and at that point he should find a new policy in place that welcomes qualified transgender recruits and treats everyone who serves according to a single standard.”

Central principle of Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform:

  • One standard for military service, applied equally to all qualified Americans.



Policy Effects:

  • Immediately stops all adverse actions against transgender service members.
  • Requires DoD to correct records of anyone adversely affected by Trump policy.
  • Affirms that individuals can transition gender while in service, as prior policy allowed.
  • New enlistment or commission in the military will resume consistent with 2016 inclusive policy, under the same principle—all applicants will be evaluated under the same expectation of fitness for service.
  • As Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has stated, “Prospective recruits may serve in their self-identified gender when they have met the appropriate standards for accession into the military services.”