US President Joe Biden announced that he is lifting the Trump administration's ban on transgender troops serving in the military. The executive order fulfills a Biden promise to reverse the policy in his first day in the office and could affect hundreds or even thousands of service members who were barred from serving openly or transitioning to their preferred gender under former President Donald Trump.
Lloyd Austin, Biden's defense secretary, supports overturning the ban. "If you are fit and you're qualified to serve and if you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve," Austin said at his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. Trump surprised his own aides, Pentagon leadership and Congress with a tweet in 2017 announcing that he would roll back an open-service policy, citing costs and disruption. A restrictive new policy was designed by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and took effect in April 2019.