Signing an executive order, President Joe Biden ended Donald Trump's 2019 ban on trans folks serving in the military, affecting 15,000 trans service members.
In his first few days as President, Joe Biden has worked on reversing several of former President Donald Trump's regressive executive orders through executive orders of his own. Among them is a reversal of Trump's 2017 ban on transgender folks serving in the United States military, which was announced via Twitter in 2017 and subsequently went into effect in 2019. The reversal, which was forecasted but not certain, has come as positive news to several trans members of the military. These members now look forward to serving their country once again, CNN reports.
BREAKING: President Joe Biden has repealed the transgender military ban.— ACLU (@ACLU) January 25, 2021
This is an incredible victory for our clients and sends a message that transgender people not only belong in our armed services, but in our country.
Paulo Batista, who was assigned female at birth, is one of the trans individuals who will be impacted by President Biden's reversal. He was inspired to join the military by his father, a first-generation immigrant who went on to join the Air Force. Batista shared, "This was some way to pay back and show love for the country. It was embedded in me, and it became a passion." He joined the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) at his Florida school, but could not enlist when the time came as his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Then, following his father's death in 2009, he transitioned.
This is a moment for bold and visionary leadership.— Rep. Jason Crow (@RepJasonCrow) January 25, 2021
Proud to see Secretary @LloydAustin order a review of military sexual assault programs & President Biden reverse the harmful transgender military ban.
We must take proactive steps to strengthen the integrity of our military.
He said, "It was either go for the military or go through a complete transition and live with my authentic self." Batista had almost completed his transition when former President Barack Obama repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2016. He was finally ready to enlist, but Trump announced the ban on transgender people in the military a year later. "There's nothing much you can do when that happens," he said. "Everything kind of dwindled. It didn't fade for me, I just had to back paddle a little bit." Now, at 36 years old, he is too old to join the Army or Marines. Nonetheless, he can still join the Air Force and Navy. Biden's reversal of the executive order has given him a new sense of hope.
"I am just excited," Batista stated. "I feel renewed again. I've worked this great civilian life, but it's not what I've always wanted and loved to do, and now I've got that chance. I'm just so eager. I'm ready to keep up with those 18-year-olds." He is only one of the thousands of trans folks who will benefit from the reversal. As per estimates from Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A), there are already about 15,000 transgender service members. In addition to this, the organization is in touch with 300 more trans folks who are ready to enlist in the military.
Emma Shinn, the President of SPART*A as well as a captain in the Marine Corps, said that transgender individuals "can rest easier knowing that their service to our nation is seen [and] valued, and that they can continue to serve as their authentic selves." Of course, there is much to be said about an institution that is fundamentally founded on violence and the oppression of people across the gender spectrum, but thousands more trans Americans can finally "answer their country's call."