Ayyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Joe Biden and and another executive order.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday fulfilling a campaign promise to overturn a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Former president Donald Trump largely barred their open service in 2017, announcing the decision in a tweet.
“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House said in a fact sheet announcing its plans. “America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception. Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”
But the swiftness signaled a willingness by the new Biden administration to put its own stamp on Defense Department social issues. It follows an announcement from Mr. Austin on Saturday that he was ordering up a review of how the Pentagon has been handling sexual assault issues. Biden and the Defense Department leadership will also have to wrestle with a reckoning on race that is facing the Pentagon, where officials have had to confront a stark fact: close to one in five of the protesters who have been arrested for breaching the Capitol on January 6 many of them with links to white supremacist organizations have ties to the American military.
Advocacy groups on the transgender issue that have been fighting the ban since it was announced three years ago in a tweet from Trump have argued that the Pentagon does not need to spend months studying how to allow transgender people to serve because it had already done so. One such group, the Palm Center, said in a policy memo last summer that the military could reopen to transgender people rapidly if ordered to do so. “A big ship can take time to turn around, so often the Pentagon needs to study policy changes and move cautiously,” Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, said last July in an interview. “But this is the rare case where, since the military left inclusive policy for already serving transgender personnel in place even as it implemented its ban, the switch is just waiting to be flipped.”