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LGBTQ+ Groups Celebrate Reversal of Transgender Ban in the Military

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Within five days of taking office, President Joe Biden made good on a pledge to reverse the ban on transgender people in the military. (MxRuben/Morguefile)
Within five days of taking office, President Joe Biden made good on a pledge to reverse the ban on transgender people in the military. (MxRuben/Morguefile)
January 26, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- LGBTQ+ groups are celebrating President Joe Biden's executive order reversing a Trump-era ban on transgender people in the military.

The ban took effect in April 2019 and also prevented transgender people from enlisting, joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps or attending military academies.

Rick Chavez Zbur, executive director of Equality California, which sued to stop the ban, said the policy hurt individuals and the nation as a whole.

"It was also harmful to the country because it deprives our country of talent and really harms military readiness," Zbur maintained.

Former President Donald Trump imposed the ban in July 2017 but it was tied up in litigation for two years until the Supreme Court allowed it to take effect. Trump argued the military should not have to pay for people to go through the transition.

Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director for Equality California, noted a 2016 study by the Rand Corporation found the costs of allowing transgender people to serve are negligible.

"It's really sort of a red herring," Garrett-Pate asserted. "The military covers the cost of health care for service members. Period. Full stop. And transgender people shouldn't be denied care any more than any other service member."

A UCLA study estimated more than 15,000 transgender people were on active duty as of 2014. The order also requires the Department of Defense to correct the record of anyone dismissed for their gender identity.

Disclosure: Equality California contributes to our fund for reporting on Census, Health Issues, HIV/AIDS Prevention, LGBTQIA Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA