Joe Biden appoints trailblazing transgender war veteran to presidential transition team
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped transgender veteran Shawn Skelly to be part of his presidential transition team at the Department of Defense.
Donald Trump banned transgender people from serving openly in the US military.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – who were declared the winners of the US election on Saturday (7 November) – have pledged to reverse Trump’s discriminatory ban on trans people in the military.
Biden has named a number of LGBT+ people to his transition team, including Skelly, who was the first transgender veteran to get a presidential appointee when Barack Obama named her director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation.
Shawn Skelly, a co-founder of LGBT+ advocacy organisation Out In National Security, is also a former special assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.
The Trump administration also backed legal attempts to ban trans girls from playing school sports and encouraged discrimination against trans people in healthcare settings and homeless shelters.
As part of Biden’s transition team, Shawn Skelly will be one of those responsible for evaluating the Department of Defense, understanding how it operates and helping ensure a smooth transfer of power.
Ted Kaufman, co-chair of the transition team, said: “Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change.
“We must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration to protect our interests at home and abroad.
“The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day 1. The work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world.”
Trump has so far refused to work with Biden’s transition team.