President Obama allowed transgender troops to serve in the military, President Trump reversed that decision, and now President Biden has brought us back full circle. Biden on Monday fulfilled a campaign pledge by once again allowing openly transgender troops to enlist, reports Politico. He directed new defense chief Lloyd Austin to implement the policy and asked for a Pentagon review on progress in undoing the ban within 60 days, per USA Today. At his confirmation hearing last week, Austin made clear he was on board, vowing to "create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity."
The White House echoed that sentiment Monday in a statement about Biden's directive. "Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force," it says. "Simply put, it's the right thing to do and is in our national interest." This is the second big move Biden has made in support of transgender rights. As president-elect, he nominated Dr. Rachel Levine as the No. 2 official at Health and Human Services; if confirmed, she'll become the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. (Read more transgender stories.)