President Biden’s decision to rescind the ban on transgender service members in the armed forces within a week of taking office is a welcome development for a diverse, inclusive and competent military. Despite decades of discrimination, transgender troops have served their country in all branches of the military. While important, meaningful and necessary, however, simply lifting the ban put in place in 2018 isn’t enough to counteract the discrimination transgender service members and veterans continue to face. The next steps for the Department of Defense should be to expand the data available on currently serving transgender personnel, develop a targeted recruitment strategy to reach a more diverse population, and protect LGBT service members from all types of harassment and abuse.
Simply lifting the ban put in place in 2018 isn’t enough to counteract the discrimination transgender service members and veterans continue to face.
A move that values competency, qualifications and force readiness over discrimination on the basis of gender identity will improve the makeup of the force and allow qualified transgender individuals to join the military. The White House statement announcing the change highlighted the rationale: “America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception."
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