US

The Pentagon wants trans people to know they can ‘walk in and join’ the military today 

Lily Wakefield February 7, 2021
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National Guard military troops

Being trans "will not be a bar" to enlisting in the military. (Getty/ Nathan Howard)

The Pentagon has confirmed that trans people can “walk in and join” the military today, amid concerns about when Donald Trump’s ban would officially end.

On 25 January, president Joe Biden signed an executive order to overturn Trump’s ban on trans troops serving in the US military.

By signing the order, Biden reverted to procedures first put in place under the Obama administration allowing transgender service members to serve openly once again, and prohibiting “involuntary separations, discharges and denials of re-enlistment… on the basis of gender identity”.

But questions remained about the logistics of the order, and when trans people would actually be able to enlist, or re-enlist, in the armed forces.

At a press conference Friday (5 February), Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby put the questions to rest, confirming that prospective trans troops were free to “walk in and join” immediately.

According to LGBTQ Nation, he said: “If you can meet all the other requirements, physical fitness and your academics, and all the other requirements to enlist in a branch of the armed forces, transgender identity will not be a bar.

“So today, somebody can walk in and join.”

Despite claims by anti-LGBT+ groups that the US military will be “forced to pay” for gender affirmation surgeries by “diverting precious dollars from mission-critical training”, Kirby said that the defence department was still reviewing details of how to implement the reversal of the ban.

Biden has given the department 60 days “to come back to him with more specific implementation guidelines”, Kirby said, “to make sure that continued service is not impacted”.

The military’s health insurance provider, TRICARE, already covers hormone therapy and psychological counselling for gender dysphoria.

It doesn’t generally cover surgery, however “active duty service members may request a waiver if their provider deems surgery medically necessary”. 

Related topics: Donald Trump, joe biden, Pentagon, trans military ban

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