November 10, 2020

President-Elect Biden Pledged to Make Transgender Military Service a “Day One” Priority

Promised to Direct Pentagon to Immediately End Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – President-elect Joseph Biden promised he would move to immediately end the ban on transgender military service on the first day of his presidency, an achievable pledge that does not require the support of Congress or the development of any new policy provisions.

“On day one of my presidency,” he wrote earlier this year in a series of answers to the Dallas Voice, “I will direct the Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly and free from discrimination.” Biden wrote that ending the ban, which President Donald Trump reinstated in 2019, was “not just the right thing to do, but it’s in our national interest.”

In July, the Palm Center released a memo explaining that restoring fully inclusive policy would be straightforward and could be accomplished in just weeks. This is so because the policy allowing for transgender service has remained in place for those troops grandfathered under the prior policy of inclusion. “A return to inclusive policy could take place without delay,” reads the memo, “and certainly within 30 days, because current military regulations have preserved the full catalog of inclusive policy measures developed under the Obama administration.”

Palm’s memo was endorsed by nine major military, LGBTQ, and progressive groups who stated that they “look forward to a swift return to fully inclusive service.” They include the Center for American Progress; GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; Modern Military Association of America; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A); and Transgender American Veterans Association.

Today Palm Center’s director, Aaron Belkin, made the following statement:

“We are confident that President-elect Biden will immediately reverse the ban on transgender military service upon taking office. Few actions are as straightforward and as consistent with the president-elect’s values as ending this unnecessary ban that punishes our troops and harms our national security.”